Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What Harry Would Miss Most

My son and I were recently listening to the audio version (fantastic!) of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I was reminded of one part of the story that has always bothered me.

In the second task of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, each champion dives into the lake to rescue something taken from him/her - what each would miss the most.

For Fleur, it's her little sister. This makes sense. Family ties, little girl = no brainer.

For Harry, it's Ron. His best friend for four years. We've already seen how much Harry misses Ron when they are fighting at the beginning of the tournament. Harry has no family he actually likes and his godfather is on the run from the authorities. Again, Ron is not a surprise.

Then you have Krum and Cedric. The "things" they'd miss the most are girls they barely know and went to a dance with two months earlier.

Does that strike anyone else as a bit... unusual or unhealthy? These girls are two to four years younger than these boys. And already, they are what the boys would miss most?

Yes, I know Harry's attachment to Cho and his friendship with Hermoine are essential to the plot and how things play out in the tournament, but it has always bothered me that the task was for the champion to lose something *precious* - the one thing he or she would miss the most. And the choice for these 18-ish year old boys are these girls they hardly know, over family or long-term friends.

It weirds me out every time I read it. Anyone have insights to normalize this choice for me a little?


  1. You know, Jaymie, I thought the EXACT same thing! I understood JKR's motives in playing off the jealousies between Ron and Krum and Harry and Cedric...GoF had a lot of hormonal angst going on...but it still struck me as false for exactly the reasons you mentioned.

    One thought I had as to how it may have made sense story-wise was that the treasure had to have been present at Hogwarts. But was there any mention of Fleur's sister being there? Wasn't she imported just for this task? So why not Cedric and Krum.

    Bottom line, for me it was an element that just stuck out a bit. Thanks for a great post! :-)

  2. Thanks, Susan. Yeah, it wasn't a make-or-break sort of thing, but it sticks out every time I get to that part! =-)

  3. i guess when i read this portion i thought of it from a teenager's perspective. as i attempt to now articulate that, i realize how it might sound a little judgmental of teens...but i know that when i was a teenager, i was fickle, more shallow, etc...whatever was in front of me and affected me the most at the moment was the thing i cared most about in the world. so that was one way i looked at it.

    the other was that i filled in back story on the characters that was not present in the text to explain it: what was viktor's life like at home? maybe he really never did care about someone as much as he did hermoine at that moment...

    i did all of this without realizing i was doing it at the time...by the time i realized that this portion needed explaining, i had already had these pieces in place in my head...