Flesh, Blood, and Bone

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

Harry and Cedric are transported hundreds of miles to a graveyard, where Cedric is quickly killed and Harry tied up by Wormtail. Horrified, Harry then watches as Wormtail uses Tom Riddle’s grave, Harry’s blood, and his own hand in a potion that revives Lord Voldemort.

Harry, by lberghol

They pulled out their wands. Harry kept looking around him. He had, yet again, the strange feeling that they were being watched.


Cedric, by glockgal

A swishing noise and a second voice, which screeched the words to the night: “Avada Kedavra!”


Voldy Baby, by Heather Campbell

Wormtail pulled open the robes on the ground, revealing what was inside them, and Harry let out a yell.


Wormtail Lifted It, by Ani Bester

The thing seemed almost helpless; it raised its thin arms, put them around Wormtail’s neck, and Wormtail lifted it. As he did so, his hood fell back, and harry saw the look of revulsion on Wormtail’s weak, pale face in the firelight as he carried the creature to the rim of the cauldron.


Flesh, Blood, and Bone, by James J. Dunn aka JamusDu

But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron.


Voldemort, by Maria Abagnale

Lord Voldemort had risen again.


about the chapter


When Goblet of Fire was released, Rowling had previously said in an interview that one of the characters would die (setting off much speculation, of course as to who it would be). But the way she deals with it is critical. Because now, for the first time, we are beginning to get a sense of just what this evil really is, and what it means for Harry’s world. Cedric may not have been many people’s favorite character to this point, but the impact his death will have on his family, his friends, and his school is crystal clear – and the fact that he was killed in cold blood for simply being in the way is so senseless and heartbreaking. Rowling has said many times in interviews that Harry’s bravery and his choices would mean far less if the true consequences of Voldemort’s choices weren’t also shown, and so the deaths must be shown as well – and as Voldemort strengthens, more will be coming.

Something You May Not Have Noticed

We didn’t think anything of it at the time, but we saw Voldemort hinting at this potion when he was with Wormtail in the first chapter of Goblet of Fire (he tells Wormtail he’ll be needed for “a task that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform”). So we know Wormtail didn’t research it – Voldemort already knew it. And given his non-human state for the past thirteen years or so, it’s virtually certain he knew the spell before he was vanquished by Harry Potter. As strong a show as Voldemort puts on, it’s becoming clear he’s also terrified – after all, he apparently learned the spell necessary to come back from the dead back when he was still alive and strong.

The Power of Magic

The potion that Wormtail uses to resurrect Voldemort is interesting for another reason as well, in that it is clearly the darkest magic we have ever witnessed. No potion taught at Hogwarts has ingredients like these, or a recipe this poetic. It almost seems like it must be some kind of ancient sorcery. Given that Voldemort is not the first in history to use his method for staying alive, I wonder whether this potion has been brewed before as well.

The Boy Who Lived

It’s another part of Harry’s growing process that he is “glad that Cedric… made the suggestion” to pull out their wands, “rather than him.” He’s worried about what Cedric will think of him, especially since Cedric is older; but in a few years’ time he’ll know that there’s no shame at all in having his wand out and ready to defend himself in an unknown situation. Indeed, he’ll hardly think twice about it again.

The Final Word

“Early on, I had to consider how to depict an evil being, such as Lord Voldemort. I could go one of two ways: I could either make him a pantomime villain… [meaning that there is] a lot of sound and thunder and nobody really gets hurt. Or [I could] attempt to do something a little bit more serious–which means you’re going to have to show death. And worse than that, you’ll have to show the death of characters whom the readers care about.”
“If you’re choosing to write about evil, you really do have a moral obligation to show what that means. So you know what happened at the end of Book IV. I do think it’s shocking, but it had to be. It is not a gratuitous act on my part. We really are talking about someone who is incredibly power hungry. Racist, really. And what do those kinds of people do? They treat human life so lightly. I wanted to be accurate in that sense. My editor was shocked by the way the character was killed, which was very dismissive. That was entirely deliberate. That is how people die in those situations. It was just like, You’re in my way and you’re going to die. It’s the first time I cried during the writing of a book, because I didn’t want to kill him.”
–J.K. Rowling, September 1999 & October 2000

26 Responses to “Flesh, Blood, and Bone”

  1. I was shocked the way her editor was shocked – something about “Kill the spare” just makes me shiver every time.

  2. I find this chapter especially haunting as well as the following chapters after it. As much as I am repulsed by what Voldemort is doing, I can’t help but feel awed and amazed by him. It really is the beginning of the finale and Harry’s quest to destroy Voldemort. Harry sees just how evil, loveless, and power hungry Voldemort is and I think that this really leaves a mark on him. The quote by Rowling at the end is particulary interesting and really shows the depth that she gives her characters. It makes me love all the characters even more! (yes, even Voldemort)

  3. Also I love Glockgal, every time, relaly.

  4. Heather’s portrait of Babymort is amazingly creepy, it’s how I pictures it! And I didn’t think of it before, but the quote – “a task many followers would give their right hand…” – shows that Voldemort actually does have a perverse sense of humor. I’ll admit I wasn’t one of the fans hysterically crying over Cedric’s death, but his deaht made it more real to me than ever that these weren’t books where the bad guy is destroyed and everyone lives happily ever after.

  5. It’s funny Rowling uses the word dismissive when talking about the way Cedric was killed. I thought about the same worde (only in my own language) when I was reading it. I remember I had te read the few sentences about three times untill I realised that he had really been killed.

  6. Maybe Voldemort found out about the revival potion when he found out about horcruxes.

  7. This chapter really shows the reader where the books are heading. I mean, it’s the longest and, in some way, the scariest. I thought Harry would not get out of the cemetary.

  8. When Cedric died I remember saying “What?” aloud, and reading that part again. And again. I was only 14 at the time myself, and Cedric’s death really made me think about prejudice and evil in a way I hadn’t really grasped yet. Wow, I wonder how many people JK has really helped to shape because of these books.

  9. I was only about… ten when I read this book the first time, and as I remember, Cedric’s death and just the horribleness and the symbolism of it didn’t really register at the time. But now, Looking back, I see just how evil Voldy really is.

    Also, just wanted to say that one of the best things about this series is the depth Rowling puts into her characters- you really get inside their heads and you understand them so much more.

  10. I thought Cedric’s death all the more horrifying since it comes just after the scene where we see Harry and Cedric deciding to claim the prize together in a spirit of good sportsmanship – and then we jump from that good-hearted friendly tone to one of sudden brutal death.

  11. Yes, Cedric’s death shows how evil Voldemort is. Voldy could’ve stunned Cedric and put a Memory Charm on him. But it was easier to kill him. That act shows how cheaply Voldemort and his followers value life.

  12. “I could either make him a pantomime villain… [meaning that there is] a lot of sound and thunder and nobody really gets hurt.”

    Did anyone else think about TWILIGHT??

    I never like it when favourite characters die in books, but after the whole Harry Potter adventure I haven’t looked at these kind of deaths the same way. And somehow, it became unrealistic to have a great cast of characters on an all-out war against their nemesis and no one from the good side getting hurt: it takes away all credibility from the villains.


    I’d personally give 5-6 Cullens to have Fred back. And Cedric, cause he never even has a chance.

  13. I wondered why Wormtail wanted Voldemort to come back. I know Peter didn’t have anyone else to turn to, but why turn to anybody? It’s not like he was ever esteemed by Voldemort, or enjoyed his company. He was in constant fear. You’d think he’d just into hiding as a rat and stay that way. His personality was just to hang out with the powerful, but to purposefully run groveling into such a insanely violent, frightening relationship seems asinine.

  14. @BestSeriesEver, I have a theory about Wormtail that Voldemort seduced him the way he has always seduced the people he needed. Made Wormtail think he was this wonderful guy who was going to give him the respect he’d never really gotten from his friends, and then when Wormtail found Voldemort he started to see, between then and chapter one of GoF, what Voldemort is really like and found himself treated just the same, if not worse, than with his friends.

    This chapter is wonderfully horrible. All the descriptions are very cinematic and powerful, and the idea of cutting off your own hand, or being tied up and unable to move as someone cuts into your arm, if you think about them, are shudder-worthy.

  15. IRENE!!! i SOOOO AGREE WTIH YOU!!!!! it was the worst part about the twilight series, although with how she wrote the books, there was no other way.. either EVERYONE dies or no one dies.. hp was written in a way that showed that the good guys had things that the bad guys didnt. so there didnt have to a situation where EVERYONE died.

    i was 12 when i read this book, and i just remember being shocked. because, the SECOND before cedric had been there and then he wasnt… it really takes you out of the book world for aminute and you are left realizing that people die like that in real life all the time. no fanfare. no anything. just drop and they’re dead… its a tough thing for us to think about because we all have our attachments to people in the world

  16. I do not think Voldemort knew this spell back when he was alive, or he would have tried it immediately, rather than going through all the nonsense with the sorcerer’s stone ect. I think he started looking for a way to come back only once he was destroyed and that he found this potion the same way he found out about the stone: he had connections even as a half alive spirit.

  17. It doesn’t matter how many times I read these books, I always read over Cedric’s death, and “Lord Voldemort had risen again.” over and over and over again. And every time is accompanied with intense chills going through my body.

    And also, poor Harry! Besides the obvious, he’s the one that thought they should take the cup together. If he had listened to Cedric and gone by himself, he’d still be alive. I can’t imagine the kind of grief Harry went through after realizing this fact. He tried to be a good and honorable person, and got it thrown back in his face. Of course, we all know that in the end, it’s Voldemort that causes all of this agony and darkness, but still. I’m not sure I could ever get over what happened if I were Harry.

  18. @Casey: Yes, and you can tell how much it affects him by his line “I told him to take the Cup with me” to Mrs. Weasley in a few chapters’ time, in response to “It wasn’t your fault” and while tears are forming in his eyes. Indeed, the whole end to Ch36 serves as this.

  19. anybody remember the centaurs quote in book 1? “allways the innocent is first to go” or something like that. and it is always true for any war

  20. I think that the potion Voldemort used was tied to the horcruxes because as Dumbledore says many many times- you can’t bring someone back from the dead. and Voldemort wasnt really bringing himself back from the dead. I think that the potion is closely tied to the idea of horcruxes (which also seem to be a very ancient very dark type of magic) because in what other situation could you use that potion? If you were dead the potion wouldnt work, and if you had all of your soul in tact, why would you need it in the first place?

  21. reagan, doesn’t Voldemort say something about the potion being something of his own creation? I could be wrong, but I could have sworn he says that in the following chapter, or somewhere in the Graveyard scene. If what I said is true, though, how could it have something to do with Horcruxes? Because Voldemort had to learn how to make Horcruxes from his travels around the world. He didn’t create it all himself. In any case, how to make a Horcrux is apparently going to be in J.K.R.’s encyclopedia that is said to be coming out in a few year’s time, and hopefully this will help answer this question you’ve brought up.

  22. I remember reading this book. Like someone mentioned above, the HP really did help you grow in a way. I was pretty young when I read GF and I remember going through so many different emotions as I read. I think I actually broke out into a cold sweat and everything. Almost every emotion that Harry was going through (‘cept the pain of course) pretty much mirrored my own. JK is brilliant at creating characters. To this day I don’t think I’ve read a book that made me go through so many emotions. A BOOK. It was this book that taught me about evil, the reality of death, desperation, right vs. wrong, morality…. so many things. I never actually realized it. Cedric’s death was a huge shock to me. It was quick, surprising…. and utterly unecessary. “Kill the spare.” That one quote says everything.

    One thing that always made me insanely curious though was what ingredients were actually in the potion before Harry came in.

  23. *unnecessary, sorry everyone!

  24. I do not believe the resurrection potion is of Voldemort’s own invention and I believe he knew about the potion before his first body was destroyed. During his time at Hogwarts he discovered the dark art of producing a Horcrux and could perform all the unforgivables. Yet when he leaves school Dumbledore says in book two he travelled the globe and fell deeply into the dark arts. What other dark arts was he so desperate to learn he travelled the world and put his plans to take over the country on hold? Perhaps he had found a reference to the potion during his research of horcruxes and needed to find someone with more knowledge on the subject and could teach him the full process. Which can suggest a second reason to start his job at Borgin and Burkes, the shop would have placed Voldemort in contact with people who had a greater knowledge of powerful or dark magic than Hogwarts school.
    Also remember how angry he was that not none of his supporters tried to find him, was he upset because if one had he would of been capable of performing the resurrection potion and returning to a body instantly? The only time a body capable of performing magic was given to him prior to GoF was Quirell, who told him about the philosopher’s stone and he might have seen this as an easier path to return to a body.
    I know at one interview JKR says the unicorn blood and snake venom potion was invented by Voldemort, but did he invent the resurrection potion? If he did what was the point of Horcruxes in the past? Consider the two methods to bring you back to a body suggested by the books; the philosopher’s stone, has only ever been created once, ~668 years ago, and likely not the intended salvation to the horcrux damaged soul and the resurrection potion which did not exist except for in that graveyard, so definitely not the salvation. Voldemort says he was left as less than a ghost, as no method existed to bring a horcrux soul back to a body, would it not have been easier for death-fearing dark wizards in the past to return as a ghost?
    Perhaps the resurrection potion original intent was to bring the soul left in a ghost to a temporary body so they could die without fear next time? Though of course if you waited too long there would not be enough of your father’s bones to make the mixture and it would be difficult to find someone willing to sacrifice flesh for you, but a ghost as young as Myrtle could use it, I can even guess on the enemy to supply a small amount of blood…

  25. I remember this part it was bad enough Cedric dying and what Voldemort was reduced to but the fact that disturbs me the most was him coming out of the cauldron – and not wearing anything till he tells Wormtail to robe him! *shudders*

  26. Actually I always found the deaths in the harry potter films really powerful. The scene of everyone looking at dumbledore dead in film 6 remains my favorite of the entire series, cedric’s dad’s grief was an emotional feast for my ears, Dumbledore’s speech lamenting cedric’s death is such an incredible eulogy and lavender’s death at the jaws of greyback in the last film – that shot where she’s just staring emptily into space – still gives me goosebumps.

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