Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Friendship

By J.K. Rowling

Friendship

I bet Krum can see right through [Malfoy], though ... bet he gets people fawning over him all the time ... Where d'you reckon they're going to sleep? We could offer him a space in our dormitory, Harry ... I wouldn't mind giving him my bed, I could kip on a camp bed. (16.16)

Ron gave Hermione a hard time for her crush on Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He even mocks her for her Lockhart fixation when Hermione blithely says, "I don't like people just because they're handsome" (15.53) in this very novel. But there doesn't seem to be a big difference between Hermione's Lockhart crush and Ron's early Krum fixation, wouldn't you say? What's the real difference between a crush and hero worship?

They ended up having lunch with Hagrid, though they didn't eat much – Hagrid had made what he said was a beef casserole, but after Hermione unearthed a large talon in hers, she, Harry, and Ron rather lost their appetites. However, they enjoyed themselves trying to make Hagrid tell them what the tasks in the tournament were going to be, speculating which of the entrants were likely to be selected as champions, and wondering whether Fred and George were beardless yet. (16.155)

We love Hagrid. His generosity, easy kindness, and slightly bumbling quality makes him impossible not to love. The fact that Malfoy loathes him just goes to prove how twisted Malfoy can be. The location of Hagrid's cabin outside the Hogwarts castle proper symbolizes his role in the novel. Hagrid is a part of the wizarding world, but he's also outside of it. He represents a link between magical humans and magical creatures. Hagrid's role as a bridge becomes even more literal when his half-giant heritage is revealed.

"Yeah? said Ron, and there was no trace of a grin, forced or otherwise, on his face now. "You want to get to bed, Harry. I expect you'll need to be up early tomorrow for a photo-call or something."

He wrenched the hangings shut around his four-poster, leaving Harry standing there by the door, staring at the dark red velvet curtains, now hiding one of the few people he had been sure would believe him. (17.143-4)

Actually, we're surprised that Ron hasn't had a blowout with Harry before now. Imagine how stressful it must be to be best friends with the Boy Who Lived – to be standing near the spotlight, but always to one side. Even in the best friendships, anyone can get jealous. What do you think some of the pitfalls of friendship with Harry Potter might be for you? If you could be friends with him, how would you handle the pressure of Harry's fame on your friendship?

Hermione was furious with the pair of them; she went from one to the other, trying to force them to talk to each other, but Harry was adamant: he would talk to Ron again only if Ron admitted that Harry hadn't put his name in the Goblet of Fire and apologized for calling him a liar.

"I didn't start this," Harry said stubbornly. "It's his problem."

"You miss him!" Hermione said impatiently. "And I know he misses you –" (19.20-2)

Poor Hermione. Have you ever been caught between two fighting friends like this? Do you think it's possible to maintain equally strong friendships with two people who won't speak to one another? Do you think Harry should be handling his fight with Ron any differently, or is it all on Ron to apologize since he started the whole thing?

Harry thoroughly enjoyed double Divination that afternoon; they were still doing star charts and predictions, but now that he and Ron were friends once more, the whole thing seemed very funny again. Professor Trelawney, who had been so pleased with the pair of them when they had been predicting their own horrific deaths, quickly became irritated as they sn*****ed through her explanation of the various ways in which Pluto could disrupt everyday life. (21.71)

We love J.K. Rowling's subtle depiction of that sense of relief and extra enjoyment you get when you make up with a friend after fighting badly. Even though the Harry Potter series is (obviously) fantasy, Rowling's delicate observations of the feelings of these characters give the books a realistic edge. We think that the best fantasy combines magical elements with things we can recognize from everyday life. Ron and Harry's rocky friendship is definitely something we can sympathize with, in the middle of all of Harry's strange adventures.

Dumbledore was the one who stuck up for me after Dad went. Got me the gamekeeper job ... trusts people, he does. Gives 'em second chances ... tha's what sets him apar' from other Heads, see. He'll accept anyone at Hogwarts, s'long as they've got the talent. Knows people can turn out okay even their families weren' ... well ... all tha' respectable. But some don' understand that. (24.191)

Thematically, Goblet of Fire is the key book for setting up developments later in the novels. After all, we know that Voldemort's primary weapon is fear. So what is Harry going to use that will be stronger than fear? We can see hints of the answer in this transformation of Hagrid. He goes from weeping in his own cabin, afraid to do his job as instructor for Care of Magical Creatures, to declaring, "Never be ashamed" (24.191). And the reason that he gains that strength is thanks to the supportive trio and Professor Dumbledore, "the one who stuck up for [him] after Dad went." What makes people like Professor Dumbledore (and Harry) powerful is the love they feel and the friendships they are able to build. They don't have to rely on fear to keep others in line. This proves key in the seventh book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

"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?

Sirius and Snape were eyeing each other with the utmost loathing.

"I will settle, in the short term," said Dumbledore, with a bite of impatience in his voice, "for a lack of open hostility. You will shake hands. You are on the same side now. Time is short, and unless the few of us who know the truth stand united, there is no hope for any of us.

Very slowly – but still glaring at each other as though each wished the other nothing but ill – Sirius and Snape moved toward each other and shook hands. They let go extremely quickly.

"That will do to be going on with," said Dumbledore, stepping between them once more." (36.178-80)

The relationship between Sirius and Professor Snape is filled with unrelenting hatred: they've despised each other ever since they were kids, and they're simply unable to get over their mutual loathing. Even though they are working for the same overall goal, they can scarcely bear to look at each other, all these years later. Yet, they now have to work together. Yeah, this is going to work out well: we think that Professor Dumbledore is being overly optimistic about the symbolic value of a handshake.