I recently discovered that there is a widespread belief that there is a huge, gaping, plot hole in Harry Potter Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowlings. Or so people say. Greta Christina pointed it out on a Facebook post of Sarah Moglia’s, and when I googled it, I discovered widespread dismay about the pointlessness of the entire book.
The claim is made that there is no reason for any of the things that happen in this book to have happened. The ultimate result of most of the book’s plot is to get Harry Potter transported to the clutches of the Dark Lord in order to contribute, as an ingredient, in the ontogeny of Voldemort 2.0. The question is, why did all this stuff have to happen, with Barty Crouch Junior disguised as Mad Eye Moody manipulating the entire tournament, only to have Harry Potter touch a live and active portkey? Why not just hand him a portkey, or trick him into touching one?
Some people in responding to this question have noted two things that are worthy of mention, though they are not the answer to this mystery. One is the fact, which I’m sure is true, that Barty Crouch Jr. could not be discovered for what he really was, so an indirect means of doing anything is preferred. Handing Harry a portkey may have been too easily figured out. But really, en entire Triwizard just for that? Clearly, that is not the simple answer to the plot hole question, though it is part of it. No matter what Barty was doing, he’d want a certain amount of misdirection and secrecy.
The other thing people mention is the timing. The hot dish wasn’t ready, as it were, until a certain time and that time happened to be at the end of the Triwizard. That may be true, but it does not de-Macguffinize the entire book.
Perhaps this is because of my background in anthropology, but when I first read the book the point of the plot was utterly obvious to me once the penultimate scene developed (after Potter’s transport to where all the death eaters are). The simple, straight forward reason for having Potter transported at that time and in that way is the same for faking Potter’s entrance into the tournament and having him win. I shall explain.
Harry’s blood was to be used to reconstitute Voldemort. Quite possibly the blood of any wizard would do, but there is a handful of reasons that Harry Potter’s blood would be better. For one thing, there is the accidental horcrux-ish effect, with Voldemort’s power having bounced off Harry’s Head once. Whether or not that would really make Harry a more powerful ingredient is unclear, but these are Wizards. They believe this sort of thing. Second, Harry’s mother (and her love, bla bla bla) was obviously very powerful and was inserted into Harry on her death. More mojo. Generally, though, it is pretty clear by the big battle scene in Goblet, with the dueling wands, that Potter and Voldemort are roughly equally matched. Any wizard might do as this particular ingredient in the reconstitution of Voldemort 2.0, but Harry would be better …
… and even better, would be super-Harry.
The winner of the Triwizard is not just any wizard, but is special, esteemed, more powerful and more highly regarded in the Wizard world. When I discussed this with Julia she pointed out that Harry’s being in the tournament and his success along the way allowing him to win were all rigged. So, not meaningful.
First of all, in Wizard Land, technicalities are always important. LeviOHso, not LeVIohso. He won the tournament and gets whatever that gives you. Second, Harry Potter’s status as the youngest Tri-champ ever is reified only in the eyes of the non-Death Eater wizards, and they were unaware of the rigged nature of the deal. Third … think about it … what, ever, does a Dark Lord do that is not rigged in some way? It is the way of He Who Shall Not be Named.
Heroes become heroes by winning a series of challenges. Seven, classically. What were the challenges that Harry had won before the Triwizard started? Near the beginning of his life, he defeats Voldemort. In Philsopher’s Stone, Harry defeats Voldemort/Quirrell. In Chamber he defeats the Basilisk. In Prisoner he defeats the Dementors. So, at the beginning of Goblet of Fire, Harry has defeated four foes in four challenges. Since heroes normally defeat seven foes in seven challenges before becoming full blown heroes, three more challenges would make him in some ways the most powerful wizard he could possibly be, yet at the same time, those additional victories would not be against Voldemort, if Voldemort rigged them. The blood of a full blown hero would be significantly better than the blood of a mere prodigy, and this was a way for Voldemort to get that extra potent ingredient more or less safely.
Endoplasmic Voldemort engineered Harry Potter’s rise to hero status among his peers in order to have the most powerful possible ingredients in the Voldemort 2.0 hot dish. There is no plot hole. Only unmitigated evil.
So, fear not, you did not read Goblet of Fire needlessly. Perhaps you merely enjoyed the story and missed the point, but that’s no big deal. People have been doing that for thousands of years.