Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
How we cite our quotes:
One was a huge snake ... the other was a man ... a short, balding man, a man with watery eyes and a pointed nose ... he was wheezing and sobbing on the hearth rug ...
"You are in luck, Wormtail," said a cold, high-pitched voice from the depths of the chair in which the owl had landed. "You are very fortunate indeed. Your blunder has not ruined everything. He is dead."
"My lord!" gasped the man on the floor. "My Lord, I am ... I am so pleased ... and so sorry ..."
"Nagini," said the cold voice, "you are out of luck. I will not be feeding Wormtail to you, after all ... but never mind, never mind ... there is still Harry Potter ..." (29.117-9)
So, Harry's sitting in Divination, he dozes off, and suddenly he's in the middle of a Voldemort dream – great. At least part of the purpose of Harry's dreams seems to be for the readers' sake, so that we're reminded that, hey, Voldemort is planning something and he's still working with Wormtail. After all, Voldemort is in hiding and there's no other way for Harry to overhear his conversations (though Harry is quite the eavesdropper when he has the opportunity). But, besides giving us a chance to check in with our old snake-eyed friend, what other purpose do these dreams seem to serve in the novel? Does the tone of the book change when the dialogue includes Voldemort? Does Voldemort have a real three-dimensional character at this point in the Harry Potter series?
Harry and Cedric stood there in the darkness for a moment, looking around them. Then Cedric said, "Well ... I suppose we'd better go on ..."
"What?" said Harry. "Oh ... yeah ... right ..."
It was an odd moment. He and Cedric had briefly been united against Krum – now the fact that they were opponents came back to Harry. The two of them proceeded up the dark path without speaking, then Harry turned left, and Cedric right. (31.182-4)
Clearly, Harry and Cedric feel better when they're working together rather than against one another. The essential tendency of the decent characters in this novel to combine forces only reaffirms the moral emphasis on cooperation that J.K. Rowling has established since the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Whenever Harry isolates himself from the other characters, someone gets hurt. We love how she sneaks in those great lessons!
"But his journey back to me was not smooth, was it, Wormtail? For, hungry one night, on the edge of the very forest where he had hoped to find me, he foolishly stopped at an inn for some food ... and who should he meet there, but one Bertha Jorkins, a witch from the Ministry of Magic.
"Now see the way that fate favors Lord Voldemort. This might have been the end of Wormtail, and of my last hope for regeneration. But Wormtail – displaying a presence of mind I would never have expected from him – convinced Bertha Jorkins to accompany him on a nighttime stroll. He overpowered her ... he brought her to me. And Bertha Jorkins, who might have ruined all, proved instead to be a gift beyond my wildest dreams ... for – with a little persuasion – she became a veritable mine of information." (33.92-3)
We've been thinking about the importance of freedom of choice in the moral world of Harry Potter. Harry chooses to be a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin, and that changes everything for him. Voldemort responds to his terrible childhood by seeking revenge against Muggles, and that makes him become a true monster to everyone. At the same time, even though choice is important in Harry Potter, there does seem to be an element of fate to this whole thing. How else can it be possible that both Wormtail and Bertha Jorkins are in the same inn in Albania at the same time? Does the series of events that bring Voldemort back to power ever seem contrived to you?