Chapter 11 / It's been a long day
I had a very enjoyable morning, walking over the sunny grounds with Bill and Mrs. Weasley, and Harry, showing us the Beauxbatons carriage and the Durmstrang ship. Mrs. Weasley was intrigued by the Whomping Willow, which had been planted after she had left the school, and reminisced at length about the gamekeeper before Hagrid, a man called Ogg.
We returned to the castle for lunch, and Harry insisted that I sat at the Gryffindor table.
‘Mum? Bill!’ said Ron, looking stunned, as he joined the Gryffindor table. ‘What’re you doing here?’
‘Come to watch Harry in the last task!’ said Mrs. Weasley brightly. ‘I must say, it makes a lovely change, not having to cook. How was your exam?’
‘Oh . . . okay,’ said Ron. ‘Couldn’t remember all the goblin rebels’ names, so I invented a few. It’s all right,’ he said, helping himself to a Cornish pasty, while Mrs. Weasley looked stern, ‘they’re all called stuff like Bodrod the Bearded and Urg the Unclean; it wasn’t hard.’
‘Bodrod the Bearded was not a goblin name and he was most certainly not a goblin rebel,’ I said, ‘Urg the Unclean was, in fact, a real goblin, so, I’ll guess you’ll be fine. Binns isn’t that strict when it comes to exams.’
‘You see, mum, I’ll be fine,’ Ron started bringing his fork to his mouth, but stopped halfway to look at me, ‘although, you do look young to know about Binns exams. Have you passed you’re O.W.L.?’
‘Seriously, Ron?’ I asked in disbelieve, ‘you have no idea who I am, do you?’
That’s when Fred, George and Ginny came to sit next to us too. The moment Ginny had her eyes on me, she let out a scream, threw herself over the table and pulled me into a hug.
‘Katherine! I can’t believe it! What are you doing here?’
‘Come to watch Harry in the last task. I’m sure he can use the support.’
‘And she totally put Amos Diggory in his place,’ Bill grinned, ‘I like this one.’
During lunch I was having such a good time, I felt like I was part of a family. Hermione turned up, halfway through lunch and Mrs. Weasley stiffened up. It took Harry about 5 seconds to know what was going on, clear the situation up and make Mrs. Weasley warm up to Hermione again. Apparently, Mrs. Weasley had read the rubbish that Rita Skeeter wrote in Witch Weekly.
Harry, Bill, Mrs. Weasley and I whiled away the afternoon with a long walk around the castle, and then returned to the Great Hall for the evening feast. Some people of the ministry had joined the staff table now. Cornelius Fudge, the minister of magic, who was sitting next to Madame Maxime, looked stern and was not talking. Harry didn’t eat much. As the enchanted ceiling overhead began to fade from blue to a dusky purple, Dumbledore rose to his feet at the staff table, and silence fell.
‘Ladies and gentlemen, in five minutes’ time, I will be asking you to make your way down to the Quidditch field for the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament. Will the champions please follow Mr. Bagman down to the stadium now.’ Harry got up. The Gryffindors all along the table were applauding, we all wished him luck and he headed off out of the Great Hall with Cedric, Fleur, and Viktor.
‘Let’s go find Luna,’ I said, standing up from the table, ‘I want to see the look on her face when I show up.’
We made our way to the Ravenclaw table and I could feel a lot of eyes following me. It made me feel like a first-year again, when people didn’t do anything but talk about my back.
Luna’s reaction was priceless and just as enthusiastic as I imagined it would be. We talked and laughed all the way to the Quidditch field, which was no completely unrecognizable. A twenty-foot-high hedge ran all the way around the edge of it. there was a gap right in front of us: the entrance to the vast maze. The passage beyond it looked dark and creepy and I was glad that I didn’t have to walk in there.
We filled into the stands. The air was full of excited voices and the rumbling of feet as the hundreds of students filed into their seats. The sky was a deep, clear blue now, and the first stars were starting to appear. Hagrid, Professor Moody, Professor McGonagall, and Professor Flitwick came walking into the stadium and approached Bagman and the champions. They were wearing large, red, luminous stars on their hats, all except Hagrid, who had his on the back of his moleskin vest. The professors walked away in different directions, to station themselves around the maze. Bagman now pointed his wand at his throat and his magically magnified voice echoed into the stands. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament is about to begin! Let me remind you how the points currently stand! Tied in first place, with eighty-five points each — Mr. Cedric Diggory and Mr. Harry Potter, both of Hogwarts School!’ The cheers and applause sent birds from the Forbidden Forest fluttering into the darkening sky. ‘In second place, with eighty points — Mr. Viktor Krum, of Durmstrang Institute!’ More applause. ‘And in third place — Miss Fleur Delacour, of Beauxbatons Academy!’
‘So . . . on my whistle, Harry and Cedric!’ said Bagman. ‘Three — two — one —’ He gave a short blast on his whistle, and Harry and Cedric hurried forward into the maze.