HPfGU #52410

What Crouch Knew and When He Knew It

RE: What Crouch Knew and When He Knew It

I really am going to post on something other than the Crouches one of these days, you know.

No! No, really! I am!

JOdel asked:

Has it been established that Crouch Sr had seen/heard enough of Voldemort's councils to know that his son was at Hogwarts masquerading as Moody? He knew he was there, certainly. But did he know that it was as Moody? I'm not convinced that he did.

It's not established, no. I tend to believe that he did, although I can give no legitimate canon defense for this belief other than that it seems utterly in character to me for both Voldemort and Crouch Jr. to have wanted to gloat to a captive Crouch Sr. about their plans.

If Crouch didn't know precisely what his son was up to before the Drawing of the Names from the Goblet, though, then I believe that he figured it out shortly thereafter.

Here's why.

In Chapter 16 of GoF, during the actual drawing of the names from the Goblet, we are told that Dumbledore, the other headmasters, and Bagman all look tense and expectant.

Mr. Crouch, however, looked quite uninterested, almost bored.

We next see him in Chapter 17, after Harry's name has come out of the Goblet and he has been sequestered with the other champions, the headmasters, and the judges in the room off of the Great Hall.

Bagman wiped his round, boyish face with his handkerchief and looked at Mr. Crouch, who was standing outside the circle of the firelight, his face half hidden in shadow. He looked slightly eerie, the half darkness making him look much older, giving him an almost skull-like appearance. When he spoke, however, it was in his usual curt voice.

"We must follow the rules, and the rules state clearly that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the tournament."

Okay. So the plot has now been set in motion, and this is when we first hear that Crouch looks ill. My assumption is that this is a reflection of his inner struggle with the Imperius. Harry did not notice him looking unwell earlier, when he noted that Crouch looked "uninterested, almost bored." While Crouch does look a bit poorly, though, he is still speaking normally—"in his usual curt voice"—and following through on what we can assume to have been his instructions: to make sure that Harry participates in the Tournament.

Then his son enters the room, masquerading as Moody, and brags his little head off, telling everyone just how clever he is and effectively giving away the entire plot, as well as having a bit of fun poking at Karkaroff.

The next time we hear anything about Crouch is this:

"Well, shall we crack on, then?" he said, rubbing his hands together and smiling around the room. "Got to give our champions their instructions, haven't we? Barty, want to do the honors?"

Mr. Crouch seemed to come out of a deep reverie.

"Yes," he said, "instructions. Yes . . . the first task . . ."

He moved forward into the firelight. Close up, Harry thought he looked ill. There were dark shadows beneath his eyes and a thin, papery look about his wrinkled skin that had not been there at the Quidditch World Cup.

Not only does Harry again notice how ill the poor man looks, but both the "reverie" and his "instructions...yes..." line are suggestive. My interpretation is that his "reverie" represents a struggle against the curse, hence the reiteration of "instructions" right before he then continues on with following his orders. I see this line as an indication that the curse is really having to work overtime to keep him under control.

Crouch doesn't succeed in throwing the thing off, but he seems to be working a lot harder at it here, after "Moody's" entrance, than he was before. I also find this line rather telling:

Mr. Crouch turned to look at Dumbledore.

"I think that's all, is it, Albus?"

"I think so," said Dumbledore, who was looking at Mr. Crouch with mild concern. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to stay at Hogwarts tonight, Barty?"

Dumbledore's concern does not surprise me. That tentative "I think that's all, is it, Albus?" really does seem out of character for Crouch. It does not seem consistent with what we know of this man's character for him to be asking for a second opinion on the question of whether or not he has successfully discharged his official duties.

The fact that his question to Dumbledore is effectively a request for instruction also strikes me as highly significant. I have always read this as a sign of the Imperius hard at work on a victim who is attempting to resist.

In this case, the Imperius is successful. In response to Dumbledore's question, Crouch reverts to orders, and he is soon behaving far more "normally," making dry commentary about Percy's behavior and expressing faint irritation with Ludo Bagman. Given that "behaving normally" was presumably part of what Crouch was instructed to do, I read this as evidence that his brief struggle with the Imperius has ended in abject failure.

The way that the signs of his struggle seem to intensify after his son enters the room, though, does suggest to my mind that Crouch knew who "Moody" was. Whether he knew it beforehand or only figured it out right there on the spot is unclear to me. I can read it either way with equal facility.


Posted February 17, 2003 at 7:56 pm
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