Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
How we cite our quotes:
"So they're dead?" said Harry quietly.
"No," said Dumbledore, his voice full of a bitterness Harry had never heard there before. "They are insane. They are both in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him."
Harry sat there, horror-struck. He had never known ... never, in four years, bothered to find out ...
"The Longbottoms were very popular," said Dumbledore. "The attacks on them came after Voldemort's fall from power, just when everyone thought they were safe. Those attacks caused a wave of fury such as I have never known. The Ministry was under great pressure to catch those who had done it. Unfortunately, the Longbottoms' evidence was – given their condition – none too reliable." (30.187-90)
We do find it a little odd that nosy, curious Harry has never once asked why Neville lives with his grandmother and not his parents. Does this revelation about Neville's parents change your perception of his character in the previous three books? Is there anything about his characterization up until now that this scene explains?
"Ignore him," said Cedric in a low voice to Harry, frowning after his father. "He's been angry ever since Rita Skeeter's article about the Triwizard Tournament – you know, when she made out you were the only Hogwarts champion."
"Didn't bother to correct her, though, did he?" said Amos Diggory, loudly enough for Harry to hear as he started to walk out of the door with Mrs. Weasley and Bill. "Still ... you'll show him, Ced. Beaten him once before, haven't you?"
"Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble, Amos!" Mrs. Weasley said angrily. "I would have thought you'd know that, working at the Ministry!" (31.92-4)
There are a couple of things we find interesting about this moment. First, if this is how Amos Diggory feels about Harry before the Triwizard Tournament, we're really impressed with how forgiving he is with Harry after the Tournament, poor guy. Second, there seems to be a plot inconsistency here: Mrs. Weasley knows that "Rita Skeeter goes out of her way to cause trouble." But she still has to be reassured a couple of pages later that "Hermione's not [Harry's] girlfriend" (31.109) before she treats Hermione with her usual friendliness. It seems weird that Mrs. Weasley knows that Rita Skeeter is a liar, but she still believes Rita Skeeter's rumor mongering about the Hermione-Harry-Viktor love triangle. Oh, we humans can be so silly sometimes.
Wormtail's robes were shining with blood, now; he had wrapped the stump of his arm in them.
"My Lord ..." he choked. "My Lord ... you promised ... you did promise ..."
"Hold out your arm," said Voldemort lazily.
"Oh Master ... thank you, Master ..."
He extended the bleeding stump, but Voldemort laughed again.
"The other arm, Wormtail."
"Master, please ... please ..."
Voldemort bent down and pulled out Wormtail's left arm; he forced the sleeve of Wormtail's robes up past his elbow, and Harry saw something upon the skin there, something like a vivid red tattoo – a skull with a snake protruding from its mouth – the image that had appeared in the sky at the Quidditch World Cup: the Dark Mark. Voldemort examined it carefully, ignoring Wormtail's uncontrollable weeping. (33.2-9)
Excuse us for launching into a brief story, but we think it's relevant to Voldemort. When one of us here at Shmoop was in high school, she had a rather sadistic biology teacher. He liked to make fun of the kids who were struggling with the material, and he was generally a tool. But, even though this guy was mean to just about everyone who came through his classroom, he was really popular with some of his students. Now, we don't want to say that this teacher was Voldemort in disguise (though now that we mention it...). The point is, people in positions of power will attract followers, even if they're mean jerks. Wormtail has just cut his own arm off to bring Voldemort back to life, and Voldemort lets Wormtail stew for a bit, bleeding all over the place, before he'll help the guy. Yet, Wormtail is still one of Voldemort's most faithful supporters. What power does Voldemort hold over Wormtail? How does Voldemort guarantee the loyalty of his supporters? And how is that cruel people can still be popular in this world?