Warning: contains spoilers***
In the fourth book and movie, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Triwizard Tournament is held between Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, and Durmstrang. Due to safety, students must be, at least, 17 to enter.
After the 3 champions, Victor, Fleur, and Cedric, are chosen, the Goblet erupts another piece of parchment…which has Harry’s name on it.
Unlike the other champions, the students stare at Harry as he goes through the door to where Victor, Fleur, and Cedric are.
In the book, the text only specifies that everyone stares at Harry. There is no mention of Harry having to take “his” parchment from a glaring Dumbledore, nor does it mention all the students glowering at him, calling him a cheat, or stating that he isn’t 17 yet.
Below are my biggest issues with this scene.
1: It’s NOT the other students’ business
While I understand that they clapped after the goblet selected the overage champions, the fact that they turned on Harry was wrong for them. Not only because he did not put his name in the goblet, but also how they were angry about him “cheating” himself into the tournament, while being underage.
THAT IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS!
When I first thought about this, it bugged me a lot. I also thought about how a professor should have intervened about how the students should mind their own business – just like they have to in real life, if someone gets in trouble.
But surprisingly, after I rewatched that scene in the film, there were 2 students who did not look at Harry as he approached Dumbledore. One was either Fred or George when Harry got up from his seat. Another was a girl who looked away. I thought to myself that she might have been thinking, So what if his name came out of the goblet of fire? That’s not my business.
If that’s the case, I think to myself, Good girl. Everyone else–why can’t you be like her?
Not only that, I also felt frustrated that none of the teachers ever did anything about the students’ getting mad at Harry over something that isn’t their business.
I have thought to myself, as if I were either part of the story or could talk to the characters, One of you professors, do something! Hey, how about you, Professor McGonagall–you believe that Harry didn’t put his name in the goblet of fire. Why don’t you tell the students that this is not their business? And warn them that if they mention anything about this to Harry, they will be punished, whether it’s detention, losing house points–anything? You’re not just the head of Gryffindor, you’re also the deputy headmistress. The students must have the need to listen to you.
Despite their reactions when Harry’s name erupted from the goblet, there is a major inconsistency.
They were fine with Fred and George actually entering themselves into the tournament
Regardless of the inconsistency, there are several reasons why the students had no problems with Fred and George attempting to enter the Triwizard tournament.
1: They failed to enter, and in front of everyone, so they couldn’t have been chosen, anyway
2: Dumbledore caught them and penalized them for crossing the age line
3: They don’t get the unwanted center of attention the way Harry does, nor are they ever responsible for the trouble that students think Harry has caused, whether they believe that he’s…
- A liar
- Someone who goes behind other people’s backs
- A showoff
While I understand that students might turn on Harry for all of the above, the biggest flaw with this situation is…
Their reactions are NOT believable at all
The entire student body (except for the 2 exceptions mentioned earlier) reacted like Harry had murdered somebody, or had been responsible for putting them in great harm, whether he had meant it or not.
Yes, they were jealous once they found out that no one under age 17 could enter the Triwizard tournament (at least in the movie). Still–I have trouble accepting that every student stared at him after his name came out of the goblet of fire.
This entire situation of the Hogwarts students getting mad at Harry for “entering” the tournament is completely unrealistic. Even one person reacting that way is not credible.
The only ways I would have deemed their reactions believable was if wizards’ brains developed differently from muggles (which would have been sloppy in my opinion, yet they can somehow make it through school and the real world without learning math, English, or any core subjects, starting at age 11), or…if a bunch of Voldemort’s followers somehow snuck into the great hall without breaking the laws of magic, put everybody under the imperius curse, obliviated them, and left. And this would have needed to occur several times.
The second scenario would likely have fit in the story more, especially since “Mad-Eye Moody,” who was actually Barty Crouch Jr., put Harry’s name into the goblet. He also supported Voldemort, and the purpose of entering Harry into the tournament was to eventually face Voldemort. That way, Voldemort would return to his full functioning-body 100%.
If the scenario above had happened, it would have made for a credible ending and a twist to the story.
But, as others say, J.K. Rowling doesn’t always think things out. This could have also been for plot convenience.
How I think real secondary school students would react over something like this
Back when I was in high school, I remember thinking how the Hogwarts students were too serious and acted nothing like the kids in my school. Thus, I couldn’t relate to them.
If someone did something wrong, many of the others would go, “Oh,” and for a long time. Some wouldn’t care and have no reaction whatsoever.
The only time anyone would have glared would have been if he or she was jealous–if anyone even envied him or her at all.
In high school, I watched a movie called, The Emperor’s Club, which also takes place in a boarding school about teenage students. The characters there acted more accurately to the kids in my school. It’s as if the writers were better at observing adolescent behavior than the writers of the Harry Potter films as well as J.K. Rowling herself.
That being said, unlike when I was in school, I realize that the Hogwarts students aren’t always unbelievable. They do things that kids in my high school did, such as talking to each other, and cheering while applauding.
I guess that if the Hogwarts students reacted the way real kids would have responded when someone “broke the rules,” it would have messed up the storyline.
Still–if students are going to react like Harry hurt at least one person severely, there should have been an explanation for that – a kind that would have made them more credible and relatable.
That is why I have huge issues with this. What about you?