This pivotal chapter of Goblet of Fire showed us just how surprising magic could be – with Hogwarts’ Quidditch pitch transformed into an enigmatic maze – and many surprises awaiting Harry on the inside. Let’s take a look at the moments before and during the iconic Harry Potter sequence.
‘Surprise!’ Mrs Weasley said excitedly, as Harry smiled broadly, and walked over to them. ‘Thought we’d come and watch you, Harry!’ She bent down and kissed him on the cheek.
Of course, Harry never wanted to be a Triwizard champion at all, and the strain of such an intense contest weighed heavily on him throughout the fourth story, with only Sirius on hand to provide any sort of family comfort from afar. Before the third task took place, he was touched (as were we) to discover that when the champions were given family visits, Mrs Weasley and Bill had turned up to support Harry. Initially worried the Dursleys were about to step foot into Hogwarts, seeing Mrs Weasley’s beaming face was a welcome relief and just showed how much she cared for Harry.
Think, he told himself, as all the blood rushed to his head, think ... But not one of the spells he had practised had been designed to combat a sudden reversal of ground and sky.
Finding new instances of magic in Harry Potter is always a joyful moment – and this enchanted mist definitely intrigued us when it cropped up early on in the maze. Upon walking through the golden mist, Harry’s world was quite literally turned upside down, with just the endless sky waiting beneath him. This peculiar sequence had us fascinated – we’d never seen such a mist before.
We also wonder if Severus Snape had anything to do with creating this mist, seeing as he is the wizard who invented the spell Levicorpus – which hangs its victims upside down in the air. To get through the mist, Harry simply had to use a bit of Gryffindor bravery, and trust that stepping forwards wouldn’t drop him into nothingness. It didn’t. But we still wonder about that strange substance.
The spell hit the Skrewt’s armour, and rebounded; Harry ducked just in time, but could smell burning hair; it had singed the top of his head.
What’s worse than your average Blast-Ended Skrewt? A ten-foot long Blast-Ended Skrewt, naturally. This was what awaited Harry next in the maze, and we won’t be forgetting this not-so-little fellow in a hurry. It was amusing when Hagrid introduced them to a ramshackle Care of Magical Creatures class – but here, the description of their ‘thick armour’ and ‘fleshy, shell-less underside’ wasn’t so funny anymore.
It had the body of an overlarge lion; great clawed paws, and a long yellowish tail ending in a brown tuft. Its head, however, was that of a woman.
A much less hideous creature awaited Harry next – and one we hadn’t met before – a sphinx! The half-lion, half-human is described in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook as ‘highly intelligent’ and used to be used by witches and wizards of old to guard valuables, delighting in posing riddles to those who crossed their path. The only thing that stopped the Ministry of Magic deeming them ‘beings’ rather than ‘beasts’ is their tendency to be violent towards humans. Regardless, we loved meeting this fascinating creature in the maze – and even had a go at trying to answer the riddle she posed Harry. Fancy re-reading the book and seeing if you can remember the answer?
But it was no use – the spider was either so large, or so magical, that the spells were doing no more than aggravating it – Harry had one horrifying glimpse of eight shining black eyes, and razor-sharp pincers, before it was upon him.
What is it with Harry Potter and giant, terrifying spiders? Alas, it seemed that the over-large Blast-Ended Skrewt was just a starter course for Harry in the maze – when this chap turned up to start the party. This huge and horrendous spider nearly stopped Harry from reaching the end with Cedric – with the spider severely hurting Harry’s leg with its massive pincers – and Harry and Cedric working together to defeat it. It looks like the tournament organisers had a lot of fun casting ‘Engorgio’ on various beasties during this task.
‘Yeah,’ said Harry. ‘Yeah … we’ve helped each other out, haven’t we? We both got here. Let’s just take it together.’ For a moment, Cedric looked as though he couldn’t believe his ears; then his face split in a grin.
While the giant spider may have been hideous, the moment that it gave us between Harry and Cedric was heartening. With both Hogwarts champions finding their way at the end of the maze, with the Triwizard Cup waiting for them, the two rivals had a moment of matureness and clarity when they decided to take the winning moment together.
Of course, what would happen next was cruel and tragic – but we’ll always remember Cedric as the just and fair Hufflepuff who offered Harry the chance to win the whole tournament, and Harry trying to do the right thing by offering for the two to take the cup together. We’re glad we got to have this moment of two young lads helping each other out before disaster struck.