The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can’t know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable …With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvelous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.
When I read this book, I was amazed. J.K. Rowling this story in such a way, like always, that I can’t stop till the end. This miraculous book is, in my opinion, the best and most exciting!
Harry was starting to feel cold. He wished they’d hurry up … Maybe the foreign students were preparing a dramatic entrance … He remembered what Mr. Weasley had said back at the campsite before the Quidditch World Cup: “always the same — we can’t resist showing off when we get together.”
And then Dumbledore called out from the back row where he stood with the other teachers –
“Aha! Unless I am very much mistaken, the delegation from Beauxbatons approaches!”
“Where?” said many students eagerly, all looking in different directions.
“There!” yelled a sixth year, pointing over the forest.
Something large, much larger than a broomstick – or, indeed, a hundred broomsticks – was hurtling across the deep blue sky toward the castle, growing larger all the time.
“It’s a dragon!” shrieked one of the first years, losing her head completely.
“Don’t be stupid … it’s a flying house!” said Dennis Creevey.
Dennis’s guess was closer … As the gigantic black shape skimmed over the treetops of the Forbidden Forest and the lights shining from the castle windows hit it, they saw a gigantic, powder-blue, horse-drawn carriage, the size of a large house, soaring toward them, pulled through the air by a dozen winged horses, all palominos, and each the size of an elephant.
The front three rows of students drew backwards as the carriage hurtled ever lower, coming in to land at a tremendous speed – then, with an almighty crash that made Neville jump backward onto a Slytherin fifth year’s foot, the horses’ hooves, larger than dinner plates, hit the ground. A second later, the carriage landed too, bouncing upon its vast wheels, while the golden horses tossed their enormous heads and rolled large, fiery red eyes.
Harry just had time to see that the door of the carriage bore a coat of arms (two crossed, golden wands, each emitting three stars) before it opened.
A boy in pale blue robes jumped down from the carriage, bent forward, fumbled for a moment with something on the carriage floor, and unfolded a set of golden steps. He sprang back respectfully. Then Harry saw a shining, high-heeled black shoe emerging from inside of the carriage – a shoe the size of a child’s sled – followed, almost immediately, by the largest woman he had ever seen in his life. The size of the carriage, and of the horses, was immediately explained. A few people gasped.
Harry had only ever seen one person as large as this woman in his life, and that was Hagrid: he doubted whether there was an inch difference in their heights. Yet somehow – maybe simply because he was used to Hagrid – this woman (now at the foot of the steps, and looking around at the waiting, wide-eyed crowd) seemed even more unnaturally large. As she stepped into the light flooding from the entrance hall, she was revealed to have a handsome, olive-skinned face, large, black liquid-looking eyes and a rather beaky nose. Her hair was drawn back in a shining knob at the base of her neck. She was dressed from head to foot in black satin, and many magnificent opals gleamed at her throat and on her thick fingers.
Dumbledore started to clap; the students, following his lead, broke into applause too, many of them standing on tiptoe, the better to look at this woman.
Her face relaxed into a gracious smile and she walked forward toward Dumbledore, extending a glittering hand. Dumbledore, though tall himself, had barely to bend to kiss it.
“My dear Madame Maxime,” he said. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”
“Dumbly-dorr,” said Madame Maxime in a deep voice. “I ‘ope I find you well?”
“In excellent form, I thank you,” said Dumbledore.
“My pupils,” said Madame Maxime, waving one of her enormous hands carelessly behind her.
Harry, whose attention had been focused completely upon Madame Maxime, now noticed that about a dozen boys and girls, all, by the look of them, in their late teens, had emerged from the carriage and were now standing behind Madame Maxime. They were shivering, which was unsurprising, given that their robes seemed to be made of fine silk, and none of them were wearing cloaks. A few had wrapped scarves and shawls around their heads. From what Harry could see of them (they were standing in Madame Maxime’s enormous shadow), they were staring up at Hogwarts with apprehensive looks on their faces.
” ‘As Karkaroff arrived yet?” Madame Maxime asked.
“He should be here any moment,” said Dumbledore. “Would you like to wait here and greet him or would you prefer to step inside and warm up a trifle?”
“Warm up, I think,” said Madame Maxime. “But ze ‘orses –”
“Our Care of Magical Creatures teacher will be delighted to take care of them,” said Dumbledore, “the moment he has returned from dealing with a slight situation that has arisen with some of his other – er – charges.”
“Skrewts,” Ron muttered to Harry, grinning.
“My steeds require – er – forceful ‘andling,” said Madame Maxime, looking as though she doubed whether any Care of Magical Creatures teacher at Hogwarts could be up to the job. “Zey are very strong …”
“I assure you that Hagrid will be well up to the job,” said Dumbledore, smiling.
“Very well,” said Madame Maxime, bowing slightly. “Will you please inform zis ‘Agrid zat ze ‘orses drink only single-malt whiskey?”
“It will be attended to,” said Dumbledore, also bowing.
“Come,” said Madame Maxime imperiously to her students, and the Hogwarts crowd parted to allow her and her students to pass up thes tone steps.
“How big d’you reckon Durmstrang’s horses are going to be?” Seamus Finnegan said, leaning around Lavendar and Parvati to address Harry and Ron.
“Well, if they’re any bigger than this lot, even Hagrid won’t be able to handle them,” said Harry. “That’s if he hasn’t been attacked by his skrewts. Wonder what’s up with them?”
“Maybe they’ve escaped,” said Ron hopefully.
“Oh, don’t say that,” said Hermione with a shudder. “Imagine that lot loose on the grounds …”
They stood, shivering slightly now, waiting for the Durmstrang party to arrive. Most people were gazing hopefully up at the sky. For a few minutes, the silence was broken only by Madame Maxime’s huge horses snorting and stamping. But then —
“Can you hear something?” said Ron suddenly.
Harry listened, a loud and oddly eerie noise was drifting toward them from out of the darkness: a muffled rumbling and sucking sound, as though an immense vacuum cleaner were moving along a riverbed …
“The lake!” yelled Lee Jordan, pointing down at it. “Look at the lake!”
From their position at the top of the lawns overlooking the grounds, they had a clear view of the smooth black surface of the water – except that the surface was suddenly not smooth at all. Some disturbance was taking place deep in the center; great bubbles were forming on the surface, waves were now washing over the muddy banks – and then, out in the very middle of the lake, a whirlpool appeared, as if a giant plug had just been pulled out of the lake’s floor …
What seemed to be a long, black pole began to rise slowly out of the heart of the whirlpool … and then Harry saw the rigging …
“It’s a mast!” he said to Ron and Hermione.
Slowly, magnificently, the ship rose out of the water, gleaming in the moonlight. It had a strangely skeletal look about it, as though it were a resurrected wreck, and the dim, misty lights shimmering at its portholes looked like ghostly eyes. Finally, with a great sloshing noise, the ship emerged entirely, bobbing on the turbulent water, and began to glide toward the bank. A few moments later, they heard the splash of an anchor being thrown down in the shallows, and the thud of a plank being lowered onto the bank.
People were disembarking; they could see their silhouettes passing the lights in the ship’s portholes. All of them, Harry noticed, seemed to be built along the lines of Crabbe and Goyle … but then, as they drew nearer, walking up the lawns into the light streaming from the entrance hall, he saw that their bulk was really due to the fact that they were wearing cloaks of some kind of shaggy, matted fur. But the man who was leading them up to the castle was wearing furs of a different sort: sleek and silver, like his hair.
“Dumbledore!” he called heartily as he walked up the slope. “How are you, my dear fellow, how are you?”
“Blooming, thank you, Professor Karkaroff,” Dumbledore replied.
Karkaroff had a fruity, unctuous voice; when he stepped into the light pouring from the front door of the castle they saw that he was tall and thin like Dumbledore, but his white hair was short, and his goatee (finishing in a small curl) did not entirely hide his rather weak chin. When he reached Dumbledore, he shook hands with both of his own.
“Dear old Hogwarts,” he said, looking up at the castle and smiling; his teeth were rather yellow, and Harry noticed that his smile did not extend to his eyes, which remained cold and shrewd. “How good it is to be here, how good … Viktor, coming along, into the warmth … you don’t mind, Dumbledore? Viktor has a slight head cold …”
Karkaroff beckoned forward one of his students. As the boy passed, Harry caught a glimpse of a prominent curved nose and thick black eyebrows. He didn’t need the punch on the arm Ron gave him, or the hiss in his ear, to recognize that profile.
“Harry — it’s Krum!”