- Rowling herself was sued for using the word "muggle" in the Harry Potter books.
- I've put up a HP writing challenge on my profile. If you've seen any good fanfics that use that idea, point them out for me.
Chapter 36: The Hunt, Part 2
Harry marched up to the starting line, studying the map that Bagman had given him, making sure he knew multiple routes to reach Lupin. As soon as he received the signal, he ran only a few steps into the woods, still partially in the view of the audience, and cast every concealment spell he could think of. Disillusionment, Ghost-walk, silencing, and even a scent-dispelling charm helped him move through the forest unseen, unheard, and unsmelt. The only trace of movement from him was when he brushed against the foliage and the ghost step spell ensured he left no footprints.
I hope this counts as my token effort, Harry thought as he went almost straight back towards the starting line. It seemed that his spells were working as the referees couldn't even see him as he walked past. Keeping his pace at an easy jog so that he wouldn't tire himself out, he circled around the stadium. A few people might have noticed a slight shimmer at the edge of the woods, but it would be hard to see even if they knew what to look for. Harry didn't particularly care if they did notice him, as he was preoccupied with looking into the woods to make sure he wasn't being tailed already. As he reached the other side, he knew it would only be a short jog over to the lake, where he could meet with Remus. Now, the question was, should he leave the safety of being close to the crowds, or head over to find his former professor immediately?
Harry decided to make his way over to the lake, but not make contact just yet. He didn't want to incur the Goblet's wrath, but he needed to know exactly where Remus was waiting. Taking a deep breath, he marched deeper into the woods. As he marched onwards, his heart pounded harder and harder despite keeping an easy pace. He kept pausing and pointing his wand at every little movement in the woods, fighting the urge to just turn back.
Somehow, this was even scarier than going into the forbidden forest- even including that time in first year when he had to go in there at midnight for detention. Perhaps it was like the old saying- what you don't know can't hurt you. Harry never really understood that, because whenever he didn't know what Dudley's gang was going to do to him, it hurt a lot. On the other hand, what you didn't know couldn't scare you. At least, not really. He hadn't known what he was going to find in the forest back in first year, and his imagination wouldn't have made up some evil ghostly spirit drinking unicorn blood. This time, knowing that someone was hunting him, and not for a competition, was far more unnerving.
The lake came into view within minutes, but it had felt so long that Harry was surprised it still wasn't time for the other champions to start searching him. It didn't take him much longer to see the shores of the lake. Harry ducked down by a fallen log, staying as still as possible as he scanned the area. Thankfully, he spotted Remus about two hundred meters away, lurking around the trees. At least he knew where to run, now. With Remus in sight, he decided to simply stay where he already was, and erected a couple more defences- a large notice-me-not ward, repulsion ward, and an intrusion ward to warn him if anybody stepped nearby. He also recast his disillusionment and silencing charms before settling down and waiting.
Another movement in the trees caught his eye. With a shield charm at his fingertips, he turned to see it was just a squirrel. Just a little animal, he thought with a sigh of relief. Wait... these wards don't affect animals... do they affect animagi? He was pretty sure that Snape wasn't an unregistered animagi, but would he have Pettigrew's help today? Or was he just paranoid? Sitting alone with nothing to do gave him a lot of time to think about the possibilities. Maybe Barty Crouch will be here too? How many other allies has Voldemort recruited by now? Would he really risk sending out his most loyal servants before he's returned to a fully human body? Is this why Hermione keeps using all her spare brainpower to worry so much?
He took another look in Remus's general direction. The man was still there, waiting. Good. More movement from the woods- just a little coyote. A bird sailed over the lake- an osprey, Harry realized, just like what he would be if he ever figured out that damn transformation. For a tournament task, it was actually pretty relaxing, sitting out by a lake, under the protection of several wards and concealment charms. Maybe I can use this time to figure out my animagus form a little. How did Hermione do it again? he wondered. Another movement out of the corner of his eye made his heart skip a beat. He couldn't see what it was this time. Damn, what am I thinking? Constant vigilance, Harry!
He heard another rustle- and his intrusion ward was activated. Someone was definitely trying to get in, but Harry still couldn't see who it was. He saw another ripple of movement in the air like the shimmering waves off a road on a hot summer's day- except it was still April and he was in the middle of a forest. Keeping his eyes on the distortion, he could clearly see that the repulsion ward was working, but the notice-me-not ward wasn't. Whoever it was was very determined to walk straight towards him, even if the repulsion ward made them change direction.
There was always the possibility that it was just another competitor. Fleur or Cedric. Viktor would have just launched a few powerful spells to flush him out of hiding. What were the chances that it was actually Snape? Very high, Harry told himself. He had to run to Remus for help. He recast his sneaking charms again, and when the intruder tried to penetrate his wards again, he launched a flare spell to blind them.
Harry darted out of the woods and ran down the shore as fast as his legs would take him to where he'd last seen Remus. As the flare spell ended, Harry ducked behind a tree and quickly recast a repelling ward. He was halfway to where Remus was waiting, and turned to make sure his pursuer hadn't seen him. The flare spell appeared to be more effective than Harry had anticipated- it seemed to have overloaded the invisibility cloak, which could barely be counted as an invisibility cloak any more. It simply changed colours, in patches of green and brown, looking similar to muggle camouflage, but far easier for Harry to keep track of.
Maybe I could stun him... Harry thought. He didn't want to give away his position so easily, though, and at this distance there would be plenty of time to dodge the spell. If he wandered closer, though, Harry would be ready. To his surprise, the man didn't even look around to find out where Harry went. He looked down at something in his hands, and then immediately began walking straight in Harry's direction.
That's impossible! Harry thought. Nobody cast a tracking charm on me recently... Just to be safe, he discreetly scanned himself for binary tracker spells, ones which were normally used to keep track of captured criminals and sent out a magical signal to a homing device. There were none- or, at least, none that he knew how to scan for. Dumbledore had mentioned some kind of device to Snape that would track Harry. The only other way, of course, was tracking by blood. Given how Dumbledore had access to him as a baby, there were plenty of opportunities for the old man to get a sample of his blood. Heck, the number of infirmary visits would have been plenty. Harry was certain the man was Snape now.
Screw the tournament, I need to get rid of Snape, fast. He let off a few stunners, some piercing hexes, and another flare spell to blind Snape as he ran towards Remus. Thankfully, Remus had noticed the commotion and realized it was Harry, coming out of his hiding place with his wand out.
"Harry? Is that you?" he shouted.
Harry dispelled his disillusionment. "It's Snape! He's here, and he's tracking me somehow. I need your help!"
"Where's your mirror? You should have just called me instead of running around in the open."
"Confiscated. I just blinded Snape again. He should be by those trees," Harry said, pointing.
"Don't worry, I see him. Stick together. He won't be able to handle the both of us at once. You concentrate on the offensive, I'll stick to the counter-curses and shields."
"You sure? I can throw up a pretty decent shield..."
"I've always been better at defense than offense, Harry. It's better if I back you up. Now let's get him."
At the judge's table, the Goblet of Fire released a puff of black smoke.
Remus maintained a shield for Harry, who cast a few stunners, but they came out with a weak, dull red colour instead of the more familiar bright, glowing red that Harry was used to. Snape, who was still recovering from another blinding flare charm, was hit by one of them- but he didn't drop. Seeing Harry and Remus together, Snape hesitated for only a second before deciding to flee. With a pop of disapparition, he was gone.
"What were you trying to hit him with, Harry?" Remus asked.
"Stupefy." Harry looked at his wand.
"That was a stunner? Wait, cast it again. And say the incantation this time," Remus told him.
"Stupefy!" Harry cried out, casting the spell at a tree. This time, the spell was slightly brighter but still off-colour.
"You wand movements are right, incantation was perfect," Remus said in his Professor Lupin tone. "Were you hit with anything by Snape?"
"No, I don't think so." Harry couldn't explain any more as the klaxon signalling the end of the round sounded. They both spotted two of the referees making their way over to him.
"Sorry, Harry, I can't let Dumbledore find out I've been here. Tell them what you saw; maybe you can get tournament security to keep an eye out for Snape." With that, Remus disapparated, leaving Harry to wave down the referees.
When they arrived, they didn't look pleased in the least. "Harry Potter, who was that you were talking to?"
"I can't say, but he was helping me-"
"So you admit you had outside help? That's a clear violation of the tournament rules!" the referee shouted.
"If you'd let me finish," Harry said in a low voice, "He was defending me against a kidnapper."
"Nobody's trying to kidnap you, Mr. Potter. The only place you're being taken is in front of the judges' table. Kidnapping, really. You need to think up better excuses."
"If you're not going to take me seriously, then I need to talk to someone who will. Take me to tournament security," Harry demanded.
Ten minutes later, he was facing the judges and not the aurors.
"Tell us, Mr. Potter, why did you ask for outside help during an event? That is a blatant violation of the rules, and as such, the Goblet has decided to seal your wand," one of the English judges told him.
So that's why my spells aren't coming out right, Harry realized. Facing the judges with a defiant look, he said, "There was someone who was trying to kidnap me. He made his first attempt during Cedric's turn, stunning Fleur from behind and then attempted to take me as well."
"That was merely a doppelganger spell, Mr. Potter. We were rather confused as well, but Albus Dumbledore confirmed it for us."
Dumbledore. Of course, making excuses to help hide Snape. "Did you bother to ask Cedric about it?" Given the blank looks by the judges, Harry assumed that was a no. "Cedric himself said he didn't know about that attack, and he doesn't know that spell. Maybe you should look into it?"
"Yes... well, Mr. Potter, there is still the issue of your own infractions..."
"I called the other man here because he would be willing to help me fight against Snape, not the other champions."
"Snape? As in your former professor Snape?"
"Yes. And I want to talk to security," Harry demanded again. Another ten minutes later, he finally had two aurors at his side- Shacklebolt and Bigsby, both of whom were regularly stationed at Hogwarts. Shacklebolt was an Order member, Harry knew, but the man didn't know Snape was working under Dumbledore's orders. It could still work, he hoped.
"Snape's trying to kidnap me," Harry said bluntly. "My... uh... friend was helping me defend myself against the man.
"You saw him? You believe that man has turned dark?" Shacklebolt asked. He didn't push further about Remus, probably because he assumed it was Sirius that had helped Harry.
"Turned dark? He's always been dark. Moody was right. Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater."
"And what would his motive be?" Bigsby asked.
Harry began to say, "Vol-" but was quickly cut off by Shacklebolt.
"Fortune. Harry Potter will control a large sum of money when he comes of age. There's always the possibility of another dark wizard putting a price on the Boy-Who-Lived's head. And you remember what a pain in the arse he was at the castle, Bigsby." The aurors nodded to each other. "We'll keep an eye out for him, Mr. Potter."
After the two of them left, Harry asked the judges, "Can you restore my wand now? Obviously I didn't call for help to win the tournament, just to keep myself safe."
"Sorry, Mr. Potter. The Goblet's decisions are final. We don't control the cup; it makes its own decisions. If you're lucky, the effects should only last until the tournament finishes."
"WHAT?" Harry's jaw dropped. Looking at the wand in his hand, he felt a shock of anger race through his body. That stupid cup had arbitrarily decided he was cheating and sealed his wand? They hoped it would be restored at the end of the tournament? Harry had hoped that he would just be completely disqualified from the tournament, or maybe just lose all his points. The cup had, instead, given him a punishment that would affect his life outside the tournament. Whose stupid idea was it to pull that cup out of whatever dusty bin it had been lying in for the past few centuries? Glaring at the judges, he stormed away from the table.
"Dumbledore, Fawkes might have some problems," Shacklebolt told the old wizard. That was the code for issues that could involve the Order of the Phoenix.
Dumbledore nodded. Pulling out a muggle pen out of his pocket, he held it out to the auror. "Portkey to my office," he explained. When they both grasped it, Dumbledore tapped it with his wand and they were whisked to Hogwarts.
"Now, you were saying?"
"Harry Potter believes that your former Potions professor is trying to kidnap him, quite possibly to take him to You-Know-Who. Two attempts so far today. If he's trying for a third, then he doesn't have much time."
I never expected Severus to let Harry slip out of his grasp, Dumbledore mused, picking up a candy from his desk. "Very well, Kingsley. I'll alert a few of the other available Order members. Tell the tournament security that they will be receiving a few more reinforcements for the rest of the day." With a silently cast stunner, Shacklebolt ended up on the floor of the office. He chuckled merrily to himself before adding, "Oh, silly me. It seems my old age is catching up to me. Why did I bother telling him all that? Severus is the one that needs to know."
Plucking a hair from the auror, he began writing a short missive to Snape and stuck the hair to the parchment. "Fawkes? I have another delivery for you to make," he told his phoenix.
Fawkes turned around on his perch, facing away from Dumbledore, and ruffled his feathers.
Dumbledore sighed. "I don't understand why you've been so temperamental these past few years, my old friend." He went to fetch one of the owls from the Hogwarts owlery instead.
"...and then they told me I still have to compete." Harry was explaining his story to the other two champions, as Fleur had left the tent early for her round.
"Look, Harry, it's not that I think you're a cheater, but... Snape is really out to kill you or something? I know he was quite the arsehole to everyone outside of Slytherin, but does he really have a personal vendetta against you?" Cedric asked.
"Yes, he hates me personally. Hated me before I ever met him," Harry confirmed, recalling his very first Potions class.
"My dad teased him when they were in school," Harry explained. When did I find that out? he wondered. He did remember seeing a memory from Snape's perspective... but he didn't remember ever breaking through Snape's occlumency.
"That's one hell of a grudge."
"I'll say. I mean, I hate Malfoy, but I wouldn't take it out on his children. Especially a decade after his death. Snape was never right in the head, and now he's lost his job, for which I'm sure he blames me as well. Anyways... even with the extra security flying around, would you mind if I stuck close to one of you?" He looked back and forth between the two other boys hopefully.
Viktor wasn't speaking to him. He was still somewhat unconvinced that the Goblet had made such an egregious error, being able to recognize the interference of one intruder but not the other. He was of the opinion that Harry, perhaps even subconsciously, wanted Remus to help him win the event as well. If there was one thing he didn't appreciate, it was unsportsmanlike conduct, especially after losing the Quidditch World Cup.
Cedric, looking doubtful that Krum would invite Harry to run by his side, said, "Stick with me, then, but I don't know how useful you'll be without a properly working wand. Just don't get in my way, alright?"
"Hey, my eyes and ears still work, even if my wand doesn't. I can still help."
"Good luck seeing through her disillusionment. We all know how much she loves that spell."
"As much as she loves using the allure against you two? Am I still the only one who can resist her completely?"
Cedric closed his mouth immediately, looking abashed. "I've gotten a bit better."
"Yeah, well, even in the end, I might have to tackle her to finish off this round. Between the three of us, if I can't use my wand and you two can't use your brains, this will be a real uphill battle."
"Alright, you've made your point. Just drag me away from Fleur if she starts making us act up, alright?" Cedric looked somewhat defeated, but Krum had a knowing smile on his face. Evidently, he was much more confident- and he probably trained his occlumency much more ever since he had lost his duel against Fleur. Obviously, the allure did nothing to help her against Krum during the wandless duels, so he could probably resist her by now.
After Fleur's ten minutes were up, Krum went off on his own, following his own tracking methods. Cedric asked Harry, "Can you still cast that footstep spell?"
Harry tried it out- the spell came out far weaker than before, only showing the tracks three steps away before the light faded. "Nope. I could teach it to you, see if you can get it right. The incantation is Osteniter, and the wand movements go like this-" Harry demonstrated for Cedric.
Cedric tried out the spell several times before anything happened. When he finally got it right, the ground in front of him lit up with every little human and animal footprint that had been made for days. Harry added, "It helps if you concentrate on the size of the person's feet and if you have a good guess when they came by. The more you can narrow it down in your mind, the easier it is." They wasted another ten minutes before Cedric managed to cast the spell passably and they had a good trail to follow.
"So, what was your plan if I couldn't teach this spell to you?" Harry asked.
"Transfigure a rock into a bloodhound and get it to track her by smell," Cedric said.
"What does Viktor do?" Harry asked, never having seen what the Bulgarian usually did.
"Something similar, except he uses a hawk to spot them from the air, I think. That's how he found me, at least."
Harry chuckled to himself. No wonder his round was so peaceful and quiet- at least, until Snape showed up. He'd warded himself against sight, smell, and footsteps. They must have been wandering every which way looking for him. "Did Fleur try anything?"
"Yeah, when both of our methods turned up nothing and we regrouped, she did this odd scrying ritual."
"Did it work?" Harry asked doubtfully. He was never much for Divination; at least, not the way Trelawney taught it.
"It just said that you were near water, but it wasn't much more precise than that. We started to head towards the lake when the klaxon sounded. Was she right?"
"Yeah, I was sitting right by the shore. So Divination isn't totally bunk? She hasn't mentioned anything about having the Inner Eye, does she?"
"What? No, the stuff Trelawney talks about is all bollocks, from what I've heard. There's no point in teaching a subject that can't be learned. Trelawney's just a bad teacher. You have to be born as a seer or an oracle, but divining and scrying are skills you can learn."
Harry didn't know Divination was actually a subject worth studying, especially after so many of Trelawney's ramblings of her "Inner Eye" and the vague, useless predictions she often made. Then again, if he had to judge a subject by its professor, Potions would have seemed pretty useless too.
They continued to follow the footsteps again until the path split. "Looks like she copied my idea," Cedric said, but thankfully, the new set of footprints didn't match the originals exactly, so they knew which path to follow. Fleur didn't waste more time with that spell if she couldn't perform animal transfiguration perfectly, as there were only one extra set of footprints. A bit further away, as they reached a clearing, the footprints began changing shape, and then disappeared completely. Harry didn't think Fleur knew how to cast the Ghost-walk spell, or else she would have used it from the beginning.
"Wait, recast the shinestep again, but make it broader," Harry told Cedric. When he did, it showed a few more footprints where Fleur's feet continued to change shape before they disappeared completely. Cedric understood what Harry was thinking.
"She changed to her avian form!" Cedric laughed. "I didn't think she'd resort to that. She refuses to transform in front of me."
"Or for her sister," Harry added. Seeing Cedric's inquisitive look, he said, "What? Her sister's a fan of mine. Get her to explain it. Anyways, how do we follow her now?"
"Fleur mentioned some spell you used that tracked a magical signature like the Trace. Care to teach me?"
"That spell took weeks for me to learn. I wouldn't be able to teach it to you in the... twenty-five minutes we have left to find her. Maybe you should transfigure yourself some dogs? If she's so reluctant to be a bird, maybe she didn't fly very far."
"Good thinking, Harry." Cedric transfigured a large rock into a bloodhound, who sniffed at the last few tracks Fleur made. Cedric then sent it off across the field, searching for where she had landed. He made more and was up to seven dogs before getting tired. The large pack of dogs managed to pick up her scent again in minutes, leading them back into the forested area again.
The transfigured dogs didn't last very long, so Cedric had to recast the shinestep spell to continue following the trail. They eventually reached a spot where Fleur had apparently run around in circles, making a mess of the tracks. Viktor was already there.
"Hey, Viktor. Have you found her?" Cedric asked.
Nodding silently, Viktor put a finger to his lips and pointed towards a narrow gully downhill from them. He motioned for Cedric to go first. After casting silencing spells on everyone's feet, they crept nearer. Cedric had to ask Viktor to point out where Fleur was a few times, having difficulty telling exactly where Krum was pointing without speaking to each other. As they began to circle around a tangle of roots that could have hidden Fleur, Viktor lagged back, staying behind Harry.
Why's he hanging back now? He's usually the first to charge in and blast everything in sight, Harry wondered. He turned to shoot Viktor an inquisitive look just in time to see him pull out his wand- but it wasn't his wand. Harry immediately saw it wasn't the distinctively-shaped, thick, hornbeam-white wand that Krum used, but a much more straight and slender wand of a deep red colour. Fleur's wand. Harry realized what was happening.
"That's not Viktor!" he screamed at Cedric, spinning and batting her hand away. He did it just in time to disrupt her aim as a turncoat hex went flying wide to the left of Cedric. The bright light shocked Cedric into action as he immediately shot a series of stunners and disarming charms at Fleur. She shoved Harry away from herself while dodging Cedric's spells. With her cover blown, she stopped maintaining her glamours and began to duel with Cedric.
Harry tried to cast a few spells of his own to help out Cedric, but none of his spells were strong enough to even harm a chipmunk. Instead, he re-sheathed his wand and ran straight towards Fleur, who was completely surprised at the very un-wizardlike action. Harry dodged the crossfire from Cedric and managed to grab Fleur from behind, pinning her wand-arm to her body. "What are you doing? Stun her!" Harry shouted as Cedric temporarily stopped casting.
The little pause gave Fleur just enough time to do the only thing she had left. She blasted her Veela aura to full power just as Cedric cast a stunner at her. She fell limp, falling back onto Harry, who ended up cushioning her fall as they both hit the ground. He gently rolled her off of his body and said to Cedric, "Send up the green sparks, Cedric."
"Huh? What are you doing with Fleur? Oh, my love, my sweet, you're hurt! Let me help you..." Cedric said dreamily. Harry's jaw dropped as Cedric began to cast an enervate on Fleur. For Harry, even in direct physical contact with Fleur when she turned her aura up wasn't a match for his occlumency, especially since it had only lasted a second. Cedric was probably still feeling the effects for a minute even though Fleur had been knocked unconscious.
"No... no! Not now!" Harry cried out. Without enough time to get up and stop him, Harry grabbed Fleur's wand out of her hand and launched the last two spells of the Dueller's Hello. To his surprise, the petrificus totalus worked, causing Cedric to stiffen up like a plank, but the incarcerous just conjured some light cord instead of ropes. Temperamental wand, indeed- but Harry was happy that it worked at all. Huh, I guess the Goblet really did only bind my wand. I guess that means I'll have to buy a new one before the next event... but does that mean I'll have to go through another Wand Weighing? he wondered as he conjured the green sparks with Fleur's wand.
"Harry... could you release me from the body bind, please?" Cedric had finally recovered from the effects of the aura.
Harry smirked as he cancelled the spells. "Aren't you glad I came along now, Cedric?"
"Yeah, thanks a lot. I can't believe I almost woke her up again. That aura of hers makes me damn stupid sometimes. You've got to teach me how you resist it, Harry."
"No problem... heck, you might even want to ask Neville how to do it. He's getting fairly good at it, too."
The referees arrived to pick them up, along with some aurors. They confirmed that Fleur was unconscious and disarmed, and then explained the extra security. "The aurors are working under the assumption that somebody was attempting to kidnap Harry Potter during the event, so we had a few extra reinforcements brought in an hour ago. Each of you will ride back with one of the aurors."
The auror captain Shacklebolt said, "You're riding with me, Potter. Get on the broom." Harry handed Fleur's wand back to her and got on behind the man.
"So, have you got any leads? Do you know where Snape ran off to?" Harry asked as they flew low, just over the treetops.
"No. The investigation is still ongoing. Perhaps if you would tell us who was helping you so we could question them as well. Was it Black?"
Harry was surprised that Shacklebolt would ask about Sirius, but then remembered that they were both a part of the Order of the Phoenix. "No, it wasn't Sirius. I asked him to stay home. Didn't want him to get thrown in Azkaban again."
"You're being quite stubborn, Potter. Tell me again how you knew it was Professor Snape that attacked you?"
"I saw him."
"You saw his face?"
What's with the mid-air interrogation? Harry wondered suspiciously. "Yes. I did."
"You're lying, Potter." Shacklebolt spun around on his broom, looking Harry straight into his eyes. Harry felt the distinctive pang of a legilimency attack and immediately brought forth his full shields. He immediately retaliated against the intruder with his mental starship, blasting away at the intruder. Deciding not to stop there, he pushed even harder and tried to penetrate Shacklebolt's mind. What he saw when he pushed forward was a desolate wasteland, a mindscape that was a small town filled with burning buildings and broken streets. He didn't know where to continue his attack, but as far as he had come, he could feel pure loathing emanating from one of the houses. It was a loathing that distinctly reminded him of the glares that Snape would give him every Potions class.
"That's as far as you go, Potter. The servant returns." The keyword activated a portkey, and with a tug on his navel, Harry was whisked away.
Author's Chapter End Notes:
- it has been brought to my attention that Shacklebolt is bald (Thanks, PK Fan). Consider the hair that was plucked to be an eyebrow hair. Let's not consider the other possibilities.
- I've featured Fleur in this story a lot, more than the other two champions, and it's not (only) because she's hot. In canon, she does get more development than the other two (well, Cedric dies and Krum just goes away mostly) but Fleur stays in the story and fights for the Order. She's also the most interesting character anyways- she's the only female contestant, presumably beating out all the boys at her school (even though the film made it look like Beauxbatons was an all-girls school) and the fact that she's the only part-human out of them all. Cedric, I think, is not much more than the good, hardworking student, and while Viktor is already a working professional, he doesn't have much of an impact on the characters other than making Ron jealous.