Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
How we cite our quotes:
The Dementors placed each of the four people in the four chairs with chained arms that now stood on the dungeon floor [... There was] a boy in his late teens, who looked nothing short of petrified. He was shivering, his straw-colored hair all over his face, his freckled skin milk-white. The wispy little witch beside Crouch began to rock backward and forward in her seat, whimpering into her handkerchief.
Crouch stood up. He looked down upon the four in front of him, and there was pure hatred in his face.
"You have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law," he said clearly, "so that we may pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous –"
"Father," said the boy with the straw-colored hair. "Father ... please ..."
Here, we see the trial of Barty Crouch, Jr. by Barty Crouch, Sr. (Conflict of interest, much?) Barty Crouch, Jr. has been convicted of torturing Alice and Frank Longbottom to insanity. He now stands before his father, begging to be released. In terms of public relations, Barty Crouch, Jr.'s youth is working for him: he's so young that his conviction damages his father's reputation forever. But, as we know from the conclusion of Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch, Jr. is a true Death Eater and a vicious murderer, no matter how young he was when he got started. On the other hand, being in Azkaban probably didn't inspire the guy to reform. Are there crimes for which young people – or even children – should be tried as adults? Are there crimes that are so awful that they show a child cannot grow up to be good? Or does every kid deserve a second chance, legally speaking?
[Cedric] stepped over the spider's tangled legs to join Harry, who stared at him. Cedric was serious. He was walking away from the sort of glory Hufflepuff House hadn't had in centuries.
"Go on," Cedric said. He looked as though this was costing him every ounce of resolution he had, but his face was set, his arms were folded, he seemed decided.
Harry looked from Cedric to the cup. For one shining moment, he saw himself emerging from the maze, holding it. He saw himself holding the Triwizard Cup aloft, heard he roar of the crowd, saw Cho's face shining with admiration, more clearly than he had ever seen it before ... and then the picture faded, and he found himself staring at Cedric's shadowy, stubborn face.
"Both of us," Harry said.
"We'll take it at the same time. It's still a Hogwarts victor. We'll tie for it." (31.239-44)
In any other young adult novel, this would be a clear coming-of-age moment. Both Harry and Cedric are overcoming serious temptation – especially Cedric, whose house at Hogwarts has gotten very little glory over the centuries. But, instead of giving in to their "shining" visions, the two boys decide to compromise. But one of the things that we love about the Harry Potter series is that, while it's set in a school and deals with plenty of coming-of-age business, it also has much bigger fish to fry. The ordinary milestones of growing up do happen in the series, but they get overshadowed or derailed by much more serious events that keep intruding into Harry Potter's life.
The Dark Lord didn't manage to kill you, Potter, and he so wanted to [...] Imagine how he will reward me when he finds I have done it for him. I gave you to him – the thing he needed above all to regenerate – and then I killed you for him. I will be honored beyond all other Death Eaters. I will be his dearest, his closest supporter ... closer than a son ... (35.81).
Aside from the general insanity of Barty Crouch, Jr.'s ramblings, what strikes us about this passage is the terms in which he expresses his love for Voldemort. He imagines that he will "be honored beyond" all the others, that he will be "closer than a son" to Voldemort. Daddy issues, much? We can't help but remember Professor Dumbledore's memory of Mr. Crouch, Sr.'s harsh public repudiation of his son at his trial. It sounds to us like Barty Crouch, Jr. is looking for a new, better father in the form of Voldemort. Either this is proof of exactly how bad a father Mr. Crouch is, that Voldemort would look better in comparison. Or (and we think this is more likely), this is proof of how loony Barty Crouch, Jr. is, that he would seek a father figure in the least paternal wizard ever: Voldemort.