|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1999|
|Book 4 starts with murder. Tom Riddle, Sr. (Voldemort’s father) is dead. He was murdered, along with his father and mother, 50 years ago in town of Little Hangleton. The gardener, Frank Bryce, was suspected of being the murderer, although there was never any evidence to convict him.|
Voldemort is hiding out in the old Riddle homestead along with his faithful servant Wormtail and his snake Nagini. He needs to drink Nagini’s venom on a regular basis to survive. Frank Bryce hears him talking to Wormtail about how and why he killed Bertha Jorkins. (p. 10) Frank is discovered by Nagini, and is then killed by Voldemort. (p. 15)
200 miles away, Harry is startled out of his sleep by visions of this scene. Our Harry has developed pretty strong powers of ESP. And his scar starts hurting—a sure sign that Voldemort is near, or up to no good.
We find out, by way of a letter to Sirius that this summer has been better for Harry at the Dursleys. They are "terrified [Sirius Black—Harry’s godfather, who is still presumed to be a dangerous murderer] might turn up and turn them all into bats if I ask you to." (p. 25)
Harry is invited to go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasleys (Ron’s family). He uses Sirius’s reputation to get permission from Uncle Vernon to go (although Ron promises to come get him anyway, even if Uncle Vernon says no (p. 36)—another example of disregard for authority—especially Muggle authority).
The Weasleys arrive to pick him up using Floo powder (p. 43). They come in through the fireplace—much to the shock of the Dursleys—and leave the same way.
We learn that 100,000 wizards are expected to show up for the World Cup, and there has been "a massive organizational problem" in setting everything up: finding a place big enough, getting all the wizards there without the Muggles catching on! (p. 69)
Harry and the Weasleys will travel by way of Portkey: "They’re objects that are used to transport wizards from one spot to another at a prearranged time…. They can be anything…. Unobtrusive things, obviously, so Muggles don’t go picking them up and playing with them…." (p. 70) Other wizards will "apparate"—another form of astral travel.
Of course, if any Muggle does become suspicious or catch on, the wizards will deal with it using the Memory Charm:
After the World Cup match is over (Ireland beats Bulgaria by a score of 170-160), some of the wizards celebrate by playing with a family of Muggles:
But no harm done, of course; "We caught the Robertses before they hit the ground, though. They’re having their memories modified right now." (p. 142)
While that is going on, someone conjures up the Dark Mark, the sign of Voldemort:
For a split second, Harry thought it was another leprechaun formation. Then he realized that it was a colossal skull, comprised of what looked like emerald stars, with a serpent protruding from its mouth like a tongue. (p. 128)
What’s worse, someone has used Harry’s wand (that he "usually kept… with him at all times in the wizarding world…" p. 124) to cast the spell.
Hermione and Mr. Weasley explain what the Dark Mark is: "it’s You-Know-Who’s symbol…." "You-Know-Who and his followers sent the Dark Mark into the air whenever they killed,… The terror it inspired…you have no idea…. Just picture coming home and finding the Dark Mark hovering over your house, and knowing what you’re about to find inside…. Everyone’s worst fear… the very worst…." (pp. 141-142)
That transition takes us back to Hogwarts for Harry’s fourth year. This year, though, he’s not going to be playing Quidditch. Instead, for the first time in over a century Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament:
Three players are chosen by the Goblet of Fire, one for each school. These three will compete in various challenges to determine the winner. Only this year something unusual happens; a fourth competitor is chosen by the Goblet—Harry Potter. Of course, we can’t go against the Goblet: "And as his name’s come out of the goblet… I mean, I don’t think there can be any ducking out at this state…. It’s down in the rules, you’re obliged… Harry will just have to do the best he—" (p. 275)
On the other hand, Professor Moody tells Harry, "Cheating’s a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and always has been." (p. 343) So, obviously, it’s quite all right if Harry, since he’s the underdog, gets help from teachers. He finds out from Hagrid that he will be facing a dragon, and Moody gives him broad hints regarding the best spells to use to get what he needs.
He manages to complete the task—snatching a golden egg from a nest underneath a fire-breathing dragon. Now, he and the other players have to solve the riddle contained in the egg to find out what the next task will be. (p. 361)
Does Harry get help? Of course he does. The task is to rescue Ron, who has been taken into the lake and is being held there. Harry has to rescue him before time is up, or he will (presumably) drown there. Dobby, the ex-house elf, gives him some gillyweed. Harry eats it and, "quite suddenly, Harry felt as though an invisible pillow had been pressed over his mouth and nose. He tried to draw breath, but it made his head spin; his lungs were empty, and he suddenly felt a piercing pain on either side of his neck—… He had gills." (p. 494)
Of course, he manages to rescue Ron—and also brings back another of the captives when one of the other competitors doesn’t get there in time. After all, he couldn’t leave her there to drown! Harry is such a hero!
The third task is a maze. Harry has figured out that whoever put his name in the Goblet intended for him to be killed during one of the tasks. He has survived the first two, so this is the last chance. He will need every bit of magical skill he possesses, every charm he has ever learned, to get through the maze unharmed. He and Cedric reach the middle of the maze at the same time. They decide to take hold of the Triwizard Cup together, and be declared co-champions. But, no. There is another surprise in store for Harry.
The Triwizard Cup has been enchanted to make it a Portkey. It has transported Harry and Cedric to a graveyard.We want to caution parents that what follows is an extremely dark and disturbing ceremony.
Harry hears someone coming. It is Voldemort’s faithful servant, Wormtail. He is carrying something that looks like a baby wrapped in a bundle of robes.
Harry is then bound to a headstone bearing the name Tom Riddle. The bundle of robes is nearby, and a gigantic snake slithers in the grass around Harry and the headstone. Wormtail positions a large stone cauldron, filled with what looks like water, at the foot of the grave. Then:
Wormtail places this creature in the cauldron. Then he intones,"Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!"At that the grave Harry is sitting on—Voldemort’s father’s grave—cracks open, Wormtail removes a bit of bone and places it in the cauldron (p. 641).
Then Wormtail pulls out a dagger, says,"Flesh—of the servant—w-willingly given—you will—revive—your master."Harry realizes what is about to happen, and closes his eyes as Wormtail cuts off his own right arm and places that in the cauldron (p. 641-642).
Wormtail next comes to where Harry is tied, uses the dagger to nick Harry’s arm and collects some of his blood, while saying,"B-blood of the enemy…forcibly taken…you will…resurrect your foe."
Harry watches as the cauldron simmers and emits sparks and steam.
Now that Voldemort has regained his body, he begins to call his followers, called Death Eaters back to him. They arrive at the graveyard and form a circle around Voldemort and Harry.
The circle, by the way, is a very important part of Witchcraft/Wiccan ceremonies. Raven Grimassi’sEncyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraftsays this about the circle:
It is within this circle that Voldemort explains to Harry how he has survived all these years without a body:
Voldemort performs the Cruciatus curse on Harry, one that causes excruciating pain. (Interestingly,cruciatusis the Latin word for "to crucify." Is Rowling deliberately mocking the crucifixion of Christ here?) Now he plans to kill Harry. But to make it a "fair" fight, he has Harry untied and gives him back his wand.
Just as Voldemort casts the killing curse,Avada Kedavra, Harry counters with theExpelliarmuscurse. The two curses "meet in the middle" and the wands and wizards are caught up in an intense struggle.
An odd thing happens, Voldemort’s wand is forced to regurgitate all the spells he has cast. All the people he has killed—including Harry’s mother and father—come squeezing out the tip of his wand. They surround the two wizards, and distract Voldemort and the circle of Death Eaters long enough for Harry to break free, grab Cedric’s body and the Triwizard Cup, and be astrally transported out of harms way.
Voldemort is back. He has a body, and he is out to get Harry. His Death Eaters have come back together. What even darker and more disturbing images can we expect from the next three books?
In this book we find Harry: practicing divination/sorcery (p. 583); interpreting omens (p. 577); engaging in witchcraft (p. 494); casting spells (p. 347), acting as a medium (pp. 15-16); and consulting the dead (p. 461). All of these are practices God has condemned. Please see our companion article,God’s Warning about Witchcraft: Definition of Terms from Deuteronomy 18.