The Third Task

chapter thirty-one of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

After lots of practice with Ron and Hermione (and a new defamatory Rita Skeeter article), Harry finally reaches the Third Task – and makes it past the obstacles well enough to tie with Cedric for the victory.

Draco, Crabbe & Goyle Making Snake Faces, by Heather Campbell

Over at the Slytherin table, Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle were laughing at him, tapping their heads with their fingers, pulling grotesquely mad faces, and waggling their tongues like snakes.


Sisters, by lberghol

On the other side of the room, Fleur was jabbering away in French to her mother [and her] little sister, Gabrielle.


Molly, by LMRourke

Then [Harry] saw Mrs. Weasley…


Bill, by glockgal

….and Bill standing in front of the fire-place, beaming at him.


The Third Task, by gerre

The towering hedges cast black shadows across the path, and, whether because they were so tall and thick or because they had been enchanted, the sound of the surrounding crowd was silenced the moment [he] entered the maze.

(by gerre)


The Third Task, by FizzingWhizbees

The sphinx smiled more broadly. She got up, stretched her front legs, and then moved aside for him to pass.


Cedric Diggory, by glockgal

He held out his wand, ready to attack, but its beam fell only upon Cedric, who had just hurried out of a path on the right-hand side. Cedric looked severely shaken. The sleeve of his robe was smoking.
“Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts!” he hissed. “They’re enormous – I only just got away!”


Goblet of Fire, by Helene Sirois

“On three, right?” said Harry. “One – two – three -“


about the chapter


This is another task that simply doesn’t make for much of a spectator sport, although by virtue of being the final, it’s at least better than the second task. It must have been almost excruciating for the crowd, sitting there, not knowing what’s going on, occasionally seeing a burst of light fly out of the maze (including sparks when Krum went down), perhaps watching the acromantula climb over the hedges, wondering who will turn up with the cup and whether all of the champions are okay. Just picturing all the families sitting together in the dark, wondering, hoping, and worrying, really makes me shudder.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

Harry and his friends spend so much time at Hogwarts that it’s easy to forget that most adults witches and wizards probably haven’t had occasion to visit the school since they graduated. Molly, for instance, has never seen the Whomping Willow, despite its being planted over twenty years ago. It seems sort of funny – even at a typical boarding school, surely the parents would often come at least a couple of times a year to help their children move in and out, meet teachers, and so forth. But there seems to be a lot of trust in the wizarding world – just send the children off on the train for nine months, to be taught by people you’ve never met, in a building you haven’t entered for decades! Nothing to worry about….

The Wizarding World

Harry runs into a lot of creatures in the maze – the sphinx, an acromantula, a Blast-Ended Skrewt, and a boggart. But he only runs into one enchantment, which is the mist that reverses ground and sky. I can’t suppress my curiosity regarding the spells, obstacles, and other creatures there were that Harry didn’t run into. We can guess at creatures, as we know so many – it’s a fair shot there would have been a hinkypunk somewhere, for example. Some Devil’s Snare, and perhaps another dangerous plant or two, is likely as well. But when it comes to enchantments, we can really only leave the possibilities to our imaginations.

Life at Hogwarts

Again he doesn’t realize it, but Harry gets another indication of how much his professors care for him when the families show up to watch the third task and he discovers Molly and Bill waiting for him. Certainly either Dumbledore or McGonagall must have invited them, realizing how much it would mean to Harry to have his surrogate family there. Come to think of it, I wonder if they invited the Dursleys first, out of obligation – it would almost have been worth it just to see Uncle Vernon walking around Hogwarts! But somehow I suspect their invitation might have been ‘lost in the mail,’ so to speak. Not that they would have come anyway (though given Petunia’s apparent jealousy of Lily, she might have wanted to), but remember that McGonagall once spent a full day watching them – she might not want to take any chances!

39 Responses to “The Third Task”

  1. Isn’t the labyrinth on the Quidditch Pitch? So when the spectators sit in the stands they should be able to look into it and actually watch the Champions.

  2. I *love* the idea of the Dursleys reading an invitation beginning, “you are cordially invited to attend the Final Task of the Triwizard Tournament” or “congratulations to your champion!” and can totally see Mr. Dursley blowing a gasket. :)

    And, yeah, I agree with Kim. I figured they were in the Quidditch stands, which I’ve always imagined to be fairly high up, but that makes me wonder how people don’t cheat for their Champions (calling out hexes to use or how to free yourself from Devil’s Snare, etc.)

    And, a third thought, if these three tasks for the Tournament were considered much safer than those that had happened in past years, what on EARTH was taking place in past tournaments?

  3. Kim~ That’s what I always assumed.
    Natalia~ The look on Vernon’s face would be hilarious! And I do wonder about the previous tournaments also. I wonder if there was any where no one survived!
    And also, it seems weird to me that the wizarding children spend the first half of their life fairly isolated from other magic families (there aren’t many) and then at 11, going off to Hogwarts for 9 or 10 months by themselves. I wonder how the parents feel having spent probably close to no time away from their kid and then having them gone for months!

  4. It’s true, it’s a bit odd, but not really much different from many British boarding schools.

  5. Are the stands elevated above the Quidditch pitch looking down into it like in the movies, or are they simply on the ground so the spectators have to look up to watch a game? If they’re on the ground then they wouldn’t be able to see inside the maze.

    I like how the movies moved the maze over the Black Lake. It looked massive! and the Quidditch pitch doesn’t quite seem big enough to fit all that was in there.

  6. I think the book was pretty clear that Harry couldn’t see the spectators – think of all the quotes about how alone and isolated he felt. So if he couldn’t see them, then it seems to make sense that they wouldn’t have been able to see him either. Remember the hedges are like 15′ high.

  7. Molly was in Hogwarts in book 2 after Ginny was taken to the CoS. Of course she might not have looked for the Whoomping Willow.

  8. hg1, good point! I had completely forgotten about that. But it still wouldn’t happen much for parents in general, abductions by Voldemort aside. :)

  9. I never understood how the point me spell is helpful. Doesn’t the direction you have to move depend on the position you’re in? If Harry were north of the cup he’d have to go south and vice versa. But then I’m not a scout…

  10. Thank you, Kim, for expressing my thoughts exactly. :) For example, I heard (in a planetarium show, so I don’t know how much clout it has) that using the north star is only useful if you’re on the sea, not so much if you’re lost in the woods. Can anyone with more experience shed some light?

  11. great drawings.

  12. Do wizarding children know things that Muggle children do like math and history, because that would seem helpful? But I can totally see Malfoy not know simple multiplication because it would be beneath him.
    Also, the spectators must not be able to see into the maze or else they would realize that Cedric and Harry had gone.

  13. I always felt so sorry for Harry, when Professor McGonagall tells him that the champions are meeting their families and he needs to come too, and he’s just like “What? I have not family!” (Sorry, going from memory, don’t have the book with me). But that always made me feel sad, where you really realize how alone Harry is in terms of family.

  14. oops I meant “no family”. My keyboard’s going haywire.

  15. I always figured that the seats at the Quidditch pitch were raised, and the spectators could see in, but the hedges were bewitched so that the champions couldn’t see or hear anything out of the maze, making them feel completely isolated.

  16. A compass is useful because if you are lost, you want to keep walking in a straight line, not in circles or retracing your steps. In the woods, it is easy to get confused and walk right back to where you started. But, if you know which way you just came from, lets say East, then to go straight you want to know which way will keep taking you West. Hope that helps. Harry needed to make sure he was going toward the middle, and not in a circle.

  17. I seem to recall in book 1 Harry saying the stands in the Quidditch pitch are raised. And he says as he enters the maze that he can no longer hear the crowd. So even if the crowd could see the champions, and I’m not saying they could, the champions wouldn’t be able to hear any helpful remarks they may have made.

  18. The audience cannot have been able to see into the maze, or they would have seen “Moody” stun Fleur and Imperius Krum, and they didn’t, or Dumbledore would not have let Harry leave with “Moody”. For a different theory on unboring the audience, check out my post on The Second Task (Ch26).

  19. It’s interesting, reading through every chapter analysis Josie, you bring up certain points that one doesn’t normally think about unless you are truly scrutinising over the books – ie, do parents and family come back to Hogwarts, do the kids get report cards, how can their only be one teacher for each subject etc etc things like that. Automatically I brush these off in forgiveness, saying it’s just a story, no author can think of everything, and the things that are mentioned and created are purely to drive the plot. However, the fact that we can heavily analyse her novels and only find a handful of small, irrelevant “problems” reflects how extraordinarily detailed and clever her story and it’s world is. This is why Harry Potter comes across as so realistic despite these minor issues.

    Another note: Would it be possible for the Dursleys to even see Hogwarts, seeing as muggles see it as an abandoned castle? Going with the fact that they probably couldn’t lift a charm for two people, how would they see Hogwarts… with people walking in and out despite it looking unsafe.
    And what about those with muggle parents? Would they ever be allowed to visit Hogwarts? I certainly can picture someone like my dad – who makes himself involved when it comes to my education – being very annoyed at the fact that he’d not be allowed to see where he’s sending his child – particularly because this ‘magical’ world is strange and unknown! Any sane parent wouldn’t let their child go to a school of magic very easily without examining the school properly! (Infact, my dad would be horrified that I wouldn’t be taught mathematics!) haha

  20. I start to wonder…What could happen if Dursleys come to Hogwarts and then Petunia meet Snape?

  21. the Grangers went to Diagon Alley which most muggles can’t see, so I don’t think it would have been a big deal for the Dursleys to go to Hogwarts, if they had a reason to and wanted to go, which I doubt they would have

  22. Didn’t Moaning Myrtle’s parents, who were Muggles I believe, come to Hogwarts after their daughter died to pick up the body?

  23. Muggles cannot enter Hogwarts or even see it. Josiah, I imagine it was up to Dippet to organise sending Myrtle’s body back to her parents.

    Diagon Alley is different. It seems that Muggles can enter provided they are accompanied by a wizard to let them in.

  24. GhV, I think Josiah was referring to this scene from Riddle’s diary:

    “It never killed no one!” said the large boy, backing against the closed door. From behind him, Harry could hear a funny rustling and clicking.
    “Come on, Rubeus,” said Riddle, moving yet closer. “The dead girl’s parents will be here tomorrow. The least Hogwarts can do is make sure that the thing that killed their daughter is slaughtered….”

    Hard to know what to make of that quote, given that its source is unreliable and it’s in book 2 (and we know that Jo was often inconsistent on details like these in earlier books, before she’d solidified all her “rules”). But it’s there, for what it’s worth.

  25. Grace, we know muggle parents can access areas ordinary muggles can’t, such as Platform 9 3/4, Diagon Alley, and even St. Mugo’s if need be, so I see no difference with Hogwarts. I think that Hogwarts is hidden, but if shown or escorted to it, a muggle could see/visit it. I really can’t believe any muggle parent wouldn’t be allowed, it’s their kid’s school, after all.

  26. Do people other than Harry actually say “er”? For me and everyone I’ve ever heard, it’s always been “um”.

    Also, reading this again, for about the 15th time, it seems like the best thing for the two boys to have done really was wait where they sent off sparks and tell the professors what just happened and what they think happened to Fleur. Then have Moody find Fleur since he would have to stay in disguise. Then they should figure out why Krum did that which would have prevented Cedric’s death and so much more. Obviously that wouldn’t ever happen with Harry since he never really thinks things through and certainly never does the less exciting thing, but still.

  27. Ari- say ‘Uh’ with a British accent, and it actually sounds like ‘er’. To me, anyway

  28. >>On the stands, one would think that Quidditch stands would be raised (like in the film) if nothing more than for comfort as the goals are 50 feet above the ground and you’d have a definite crick in your neck from staring upwards for that long. Harry does make mention that it seemed as though the maze was bewitched to block out sound, and, as the hedges are now twenty feet high, the champions (more than likely) wouldn’t be able to see out. Also, given the height, even with raised stands, if the lanes were narrow enough, the spectators wouldn’t really be able to see exactly what’s going on on the ground in the maze aside from possibly flashes of light from the spells.

    (SPOILER) With Moody cursing people through the hedges, the light of his spells hitting the champions might only appear as flashes within the maze that could be passed off as the champions themselves casting something. (END SPOILER)

    >>On the “-er” topic, British English is a non-rhotic language/accent, which means that the letter “R” is only pronounced when followed by a vowel (e.g. it’s pronounced in “road” but not in “hard”) as opposed to American English, which is rhotic, where the “R” is pronounced no matter the positioning. Proper Brit pronunciation of “spider” would be “spy-duh”.

    Rhotic vs. Non-Rhotic at Wikipedia:

  29. I’m trying to figure out the age relationship between Hagrid and Mr. and Mrs Weasley. Mrs. Weasley reminisces about the game keeper before Hagrid, an man named Ogg. So were Molly and Arther at Hogwarts at or about the same time as Hagrid/Voldy? I can’t get it straight in my mind at what age they started having children then. Can someone straighten me out on this?

  30. gingercat, there are some big problems with these dates. We know Molly and Arthur knew each other at Hogwarts (she talks about them taking “a nighttime stroll” at 4am in GF31); we know they got married without having been dating very long when Voldemort came to power (Ginny points this out in HBP5); and we know Voldemort came to power about 1970 (Dumbledore refers to it as “eleven years” prior to 1981 in PS1). Bill was also born around 1970 or 1971. But Voldemort and Hagrid were at Hogwarts much earlier – the diary was dated 1943 and Voldemort would have been in Albania before Arthur and Molly even started at Hogwarts.

    However, Hagrid also says in PS5 that he became gamekeeper when he was expelled. So there’s a pretty direct contradiction in there somewhere. The best explanation I have is that Ogg and Hagrid were somehow at Hogwarts together; perhaps Hagrid was an assistant or something? For 25 years…. yeah, it just doesn’t make that much sense.

  31. It could also be a mistake, JK Rowling has said many times that math is not her strongest point.

  32. I think that the ending (or almost-ending) of this chapter makes the events of the next chapter all the more a shock. The task ends (seemingly) with Harry and Cedric agreeing to claim the cup together for Hogwarts, as partners – and then, moments later, they’re in a graveyard, and then Cedric is killed. These events feel all the more horrifying because of the reversal of mood from noble sportsmanship to horror and death.

  33. Regarding Hagrid and Ogg, I always assumed that Hagrid was trained up as an assistant but they worked along side each other, as it’s a massive area of land for one game keeper, even if he is a wizard, but due to hagrids size he manages fine by himself.

  34. Bill “Haven’t seen this place for five years.”

    Why was Bill at Hogwarts five years ago?

  35. Jeremy, according to the timelines on the Harry Potter Lexicon, Bill’s last year at Hogwarts would have been 1989-90. Harry’s last task takes place in his school year 1994-95, so it would have been 5 years since Bill left school.

  36. Charlie is younger than Bill though.

  37. I do not get the idea that it is routine or normal for wizards to visit Hogwarts after he or she leaves the school. I don’t know if this is this normal in the UK? I don’t think Charlie and Bill would have been back to visit since they left.

    Charlie wasn’t there when Bill goes to visit Harry right before the 3rd task – “He could not get off work.”

  38. I think that, starting form this chapter, the book starts have a creepy tone: Viktor using the Cruciatus Curse against Cedric? Just to take the Cup? Impossible! Just a few chapter after we discover the whole story, but I remember that the first time I read that part I was a bit schocked.

  39. didn’t any one notice this?

    “Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble, Amos!” Mrs. Weasley said angrily.

    and then later

    “Hello,Hermione,” said Mrs. weasley, much more stiffly than usual.

    Harry looked between them,then said,”Mrs. weasley, you didn’t believe the rubbish Rita Sceeter wrote in Witch Weekly, did you? Because Hermione’s not my girlfriend.”

    If she believes Rita is nothing but trouble then why did she treat Hermione the way she did?

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