The Triwizard Tournament was one of the most prestigious events in Harry Potter‘s Wizarding World – here’s how it began and why it ended. The magical contest took place in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The conclusion of the Triwizard Tournament during Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts marked a turning point for the series.
The first Triwizard Tournament supposedly took place in the late 13th century. The contest involved three wizarding schools throughout Europe: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, and Durmstrang Institute. The location of the competition rotated between those three schools every five years. One champion from each school faced off in a series of challenges in the hopes of becoming the sole victor. The winner of the competition was then awarded the Triwizard Tournament Cup, 1000 Galleons, and eternal glory.
The Triwizard Tournament was meant to be a friendly competition, but it was in truth extremely dangerous. Due to the high number of competitor deaths, the contest was stopped in the late 1700s. It took nearly 200 years to be reinstated, and it just so happened to occur during Harry’s time at Hogwarts. Harry was too young to enter the competition but Lord Voldemort coordinated a plan to sidestep that issue. He used his servant, Barty Crouch Jr., to disguise himself as Mad-Eye Moody. Crouch Jr. then put a curse on the Goblet of Fire to pick Harry’s name as one of the competitors in the Triwizard Tournament. Voldemort’s plan was to use the Tournament to bring Harry to him and enable his resurrection.
Before Harry came face to face with Voldemort, he was tasked with competing in the Triwizard Tournament’s three challenges. The contest usually featured just three competitors but the judges allowed Harry to compete alongside Cedric Diggory, Fleur Delacour, and Viktor Krum following his mysterious entry. The first task was meant to “test your daring” and in that case, it involved retrieving a golden egg that was being guarded by a dragon. All four competitors used various tricks and spells to capture the egg, which held a clue to the second challenge. That task required that the champions swim in the Black Lake to retrieve something they lost. In reality, it was friends close to them tethered to the floor of the lake. Harry sacrificed his time to save everyone that he could, so was awarded second place despite finishing last.
The third and last challenge was arguably the most dangerous. The competitors were forced to travel through a maze full of dangerous obstacles in order to find the Triwizard Cup. Crouch Jr. tried to sabotage the third challenge but Harry and Cedric teamed up so they made it to the Cup together. When they touched the trophy, however, it was revealed to be a Portkey and the pair were transported to a graveyard. Voldemort ordered Pettigrew to kill Cedric before they performed an ancient ritual to restore Voldemort into his natural form. The Dark Lord then tried to kill Harry but the young wizard fought back and managed to use the Portkey to travel back to Hogwarts with Cedric’s body.
After the revelation of Crouch Jr.’s disguised as Mad-Eye, Dumbledore warned the Ministry of Voldemort’s return which would become the focus of the rest of the Harry Potter series. The Ministry didn’t fully believe that the Dark Lord had returned, initially declaring Cedric’s death as an accident. Although Cedric technically tied for the win, only Harry was considered the victor, and when he tried to give Cedric’s parents the Galleons they refused (his winnings instead were given to Fred and George to start Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes). Following the fiasco, the Triwizard Tournament was permanently discontinued, making Harry Potter the last ever winner.
Next: Why Harry Potter Is Set In The 1990s