Podcast Question of the Week – Episode 58

It’s time for yet another Podcast Question of the Week! This time, it’s a simple, yet complex question posed by host Kat.

We see Harry, and he is really struggling after he finds out that the first task is dragons. He has no idea what to do! Let’s pretend that nobody cheated – what would Harry do? When he got into the arena and saw the dragon, what would his first instinct have been? Dig deep on this one!

Leave us your response below & we just might read them on the next episode of Alohomora!

  • PondsandBowties

    I think Harry would have reacted in a similar way, though of course he would have been more stressed. He was already learning summoning charms, and had at least a little experience with dragons prior to this (Norbert mainly) which leads me to believe that all that really would have changed would be how much sleep he got the night before and how frazzled he was going into the tournament. Cedric on the other hand might have been killed. We know that he is injured by the dragon even when knowing what is coming due to Harry’s Hogwarts loyalties. If he had not known that dragons were coming, I fear we would have lost Cedric much earlier in the competition.

  • Riddle the Muggle

    If Harry found out that he would be facing the dragon in the tent, he would be less reluctant to accept Bagman’s help. He would also have more time than the others to think and to practice whatever spell Bagman would have told him because he had picked the number 4 and hence was the last to face the dragon. Madame Maxime and Karkaroff would have found other ways to know what the first task was about. Maybe they would have noticed the commotion caused by the dragons and their trainers. Maybe they would have heard the dragons roar. They were determined that their champions win. Cedric, however, would have had no help. He was also the first to face his dragon. He may have been injured and rescued by the trainers on hand. He would have failed to complete the task like Fleur in the second task.

    • James Healey

      I don’t think he would have accepted Bagman’s help regardless. He is a high ranking Ministry official and I don’t feel he would have felt right accepting help from him.

  • klemdrummer

    Crouch made sure Harry knew what the First Task was because he needed him to succeed and eventually reach the Triwizard cup first. If nobody had cheated then Harry’s name would never have come out of the Goblet! And he would have been sitting with his friends, encouraging Cedric who probably wouldn’t have known beforehand…

    • Dan Sharp

      A very logical answer. I like it!

    • DolphinPatronus

      Excellent point!

  • DolphinPatronus

    As klemdrummer pointed out had nobody cheated Harry wouldn’t even be in the tournament at all so he’d be in the stands with his friends. I think it’s highly likely that had none of these champions known about the dragons until the last moment they very well may have all freaked out & died. I know I would’ve frozen in panic & the dragon would’ve roasted me & had me for lunch.

  • ArchdukeSeverus

    I think Harry would have definitely not thought to use something like the summoning charm. He probably would have either tryed to use combat magic that he knew on the dragon (hexes and stuff) or run around dodging the dragon until he got to the middle. He may have even repeated what Ron did in Philosophers Stone and use the levitation charm to knock out the dragon. As unprepared as he was I still think that he would have survived and found a way to get the task done. Although I doubt that Crouch would have let there be a situation where Harry wasn’t prepared for the dragons.

    • itsnotleviosar

      I was actually thinking about the Wingardium Leviosa spell! Harry was very unprepared and I don’t think he knows enough spells or hexes to defeat a dragon. Even Charlie and the other caretakers had problems dealing with them… What were the organizers actually thinking?!

  • Leah McCurdy

    I like the premise of this question! So if no one had cheated to help him out with the dragons in particular …
    I was thinking back to the other sticky situations Harry has been in and it struck me that when Harry is really faced with life or death, he does something instinctual but not particularly magical, he doesn’t go for his wand, he does something physical, something intensely brave putting his body into it. In PS/SS, when faced with Quirreldemort, he burns Quirrel’s face with his hands, he just instinctively puts his hands out to protect and defend himself. In COS, while the Sword is itself magical, Harry uses it much as a normal Sword, plunging it into the basilik, in a daring physical move. In PoA, when Ron is being pulled into the willow by Sirius, he attempts to grab him and when Lupin turns into a werewolf I think he also reacts with physical instinct but is in the end restrained.
    He reacts to stressful and dangerous situations physically, particularly when he is younger. I’m not sure how much use his physicality would be against a dragon but perhaps he might try to sneak around it and run for the egg, or perhaps he might try to climb above it to confuse it.
    In thinking about what he actually ends up doing, with the help of cheaters…, while he does use the summoning charm, when he gets the firebolt his strategy is quite physical, using his physicality on a broomstick to get the egg, rather than going for straight magic like Krum.
    I think this illustrates a larger concept about Harry as a person, overall in the series, he overcomes evil through his love, through his heart. As a true Gryffindor, he has “the heart of a lion” and so this makes me think his personhood is intrinsically tied to physicality, through instinctual courage and almost primal responses. I like the idea that even though he has magic at his disposal, our hero instinctually goes for the physical option using his heart and his grit to overcome evil.

    • Mike Kazmierski

      J.K. Rowling once mentioned that the instant when Harry takes ownership of the Elder Wand is the result of a physical fight between him and Draco, not necessarily a duel. I think Rowling likes to point out that not everything has to have a “magical” solution. What you’ve brought up here are even more examples!

  • RoseLumos

    To see what Harry would do in this situation, we have to look at what his first reaction was to other major events in his life. When he meet Sirius for the first time, he punches him in the face. When he meets Tom Riddle, he begs him for help and takes a little too long to realize that he is an enemy. When he finds out Quirrell is the one stealing the Stone, well, he doesn’t really do anything until he realizes that he has the power to burn.

    My point is is that in this point in Harry’s life, he doesn’t really have many gut instincts. He’s more of a flight-er than a fighter. I think the major point here is that the Triwizard Tournament really shaped Harry into the person he becomes in the later books and teaches him to survive the Second War. The First Task teaches him to think outside of the box, the Second Task teaches him about compassion, and the Third Task teaches him about overcoming multiple obstacles, even when plans change. If Harry was never a champion, I don’t think he would have survived through the rest of the series.

    That got a little off topic, but I think it is important to look at the importance of the Triwizard Tournament as a whole upon the series and how it affects Harry. And since I am already off topic, here is a bigger question – once Harry mastered the Accio charm and learned he had to get the egg, why didn’t he just Accio the egg to him? He would have had the fastest time (probably about ten seconds) plus would have had a lesser chance of being injured. Even Karkaroff might have given him a better score (maybe a 5)!

    • DolphinPatronus

      I actually always wonder the same. Why didn’t he just call for the egg…heck why didn’t ALL of the champions try this? Did they think this was too simple or are the eggs charmed in a similar manner to the horcruxes so that they can’t be easily summoned?

      • RoseLumos

        Exactly! There is always the chance that it is unsummonable but you never know until you try!

    • Riddle the Muggle

      When Harry learns about the dragons, he does not know anything about the golden egg. He thinks he merely has to get past it. Then why cant he just walk across the enclosure? Why worry at all, why practice Accio? So, we understand the dragon doesn’t allow anyone to walk past it. Then what chance did Harry have to stand there, accio the egg and then run away on foot? No, he needed the broom to flee.

  • Erin Southam

    It’s hard to know exactly what would have happened when Harry stepped into the arena to face the Hungarian Horntail had he not known ahead of time that the first task involved dragons. Would Hermione have yelled out to Harry to try the Conjunctivitis Curse? If she had, it would probably have been deemed as cheating, and Harry hadn’t practiced with that curse anyway. Would Snape have come to Harry’s rescue again, as he did in the first year Quidditch match when Quirrell was attempting to curse Harry during the game? It’s possible, if Harry seemed to be in
    eminent danger that Snape may have stepped in. It’s most likely, however, that Harry would try and use what he’s learned in his classes at Hogwarts to this point to help himself out. We know that first years are taught the spell Wingardium Leviosa in Charms class with Professor Flitwick. Perhaps Harry would use this simple levitating spell to bring the egg to him during this task. Granted, he would have to work quickly to avoid the Hungarian Horntail. This spell did work for Ron, though, against the Mountain Troll in Philosopher’s Stone and also to gain access to the tunnel that led to the Shrieking Shack beneath the Whomping Willow in Chamber of Secrets. It’s possible that it just might work for Harry, too!

  • Knight GryffinPuff

    Honestly, my first instinct was that he would fail. I don’t think he has the necessary combination of spells and physical prowess to accomplish the task without some help. Isn’t Cedric bigger and stronger? Isn’t Cedric more skilled magically? And Cedric only barely accomplished the task with Harry’s help. Cedric likely fails without help himself. Of course, that doesn’t make for very much fun, so let’s say that he does it. How could he do it?

    Well, if Harry is going to get by the dragon, then he is going to have to be better than Cedric at something. So, what advantages does Harry have on Cedric?

    Well, Harry is a better flyer. However, without cheating, I don’t think Harry thinks of summoning his broom. He had to have it all but spelled out to him by Little Crouch. So, that seems to be out.

    The only other thing that I could think of was the Patronus spell. A bit lame to make that a feature in back-to-back books, but it could distract the dragon while Harry makes a run for the egg.. Best that I’ve got.

    Anyway, that is obviously why JKR went with the former. The flying fits the moment far better than the previously utilized spell.

  • Kaitlin Richeson

    Does anyone remember when he had the dream that the Slytherins were playing quidditch on dragons? If it was before this, maybe he would have recalled it and come to the same conclusion that he should fly on his broom. If not, maybe he would’ve summoned his invisibility cloak? Though of course maybe he doesn’t want the whole school to know he has it….hmmmmmm
    There are just SO many references to the summoning charm earlier in the book that I almost feel like he HAS TO use it ha ha.
    I agree with many of you that if he didn’t use this charm he would maybe revert to his non-magical past and would try and dodge the dragon as much as possible on the ground as he works his way to the egg.
    I really don’t think anyone would’ve died, they probably would have just failed the first task (much like Fleur failed the second task).
    Awesome question!

  • Weasley Is Our King

    I hate to say it but Harry would have been woefully unprepared to face the dragon especially a Hungarian Horntail. I sometimes think we tend to overestimate Harry’s magical powers from time to time, because to be completely honest Harry is some what weak with out the help of his friends and mentors (and enemies) to guide him through his challenges in the tournament and throughout the rest of the book series. A.K.A Harry would have been crushed into Potter Soup in the arena.

  • James Mahoney

    This is GhostHeart from the forums.

    This is an intriguing question. I’m thinking that most likely, Harry would be absolutely in shock for a few seconds, then, getting as far away from the dragon as possible, he’d to the fastest brainstorming he’d ever done, and he might be able to make some quick connections about Accio, which he’d been given extra homework in, and think about his Firebolt, ending with him attempting to Summon his broom, which, sadly, after all that brainstorming, I doubt he’d be able to do.

  • Cassandra1447

    I agree with those who believe Harry would have failed the first task if no one had cheated. I tend to believe he would have tried to hide from the dragon and then would have been desperately trying to think of a plan. Since he has no experience with full-grown dragons and no preparations to fall back on, I doubt Harry could have found a way to get the egg. Furthermore, it seems unlikely the spells he has learned, such as Levitation or Stunning or Disarming, would work on the dragon since dragons are magic-resistant and need multiple wizards targeting them with the same spell for the spell to work. I highly doubt he would have thought of using Accio and, even if he had, it’s only the extra practice with Hermione which enabled him to use it in the task. Overall I think Harry understands that he does not have the skills which the tournament creators believed necessary to compete; I think his goal would be to survive more than to compete the task.

    As it is, Harry succeeds because he already had a plan which he adapted to suit the new situation (namely that of getting the egg rather than just getting past the dragon). This highlights the need to have a plan when you enter a dangerous situation – even if you then have to make adjustments to the plan on the fly. We’ll see how important this idea becomes in Deathly Hallows.

  • Maritere Domínguez

    Maybe he would try to distract the dragon with some simple spells, and by the lucks of Harry, he would´ve ended mounting the dragon, making him confused and dizzy so Harry could take the egg. It sounds very extreme, but it´s just an idea…