Our main course was an homage to the Triwizard Tournament – the dangerous inter-school contest that throws Harry, once again, into combat with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. We teased beforehand that this would be the course that brought all students together, and that is exactly what we wanted to do.
In the novel, before the Tournament begins, students from other wizarding schools descend on the British school of Hogwarts – French students from Beauxbatons, and northern European students from the Scandinavian Durmstrang Institute. We had three different dishes for the Feast, each representing one of the schools, to make every student feel warm and welcome:
Coq au vin
For an extra touch, we printed the logos of each school and tied them on coloured ribbons around each serving pot.
But the Tournament was not all puddings and stews – it was Dangerous with a capital D. Every time Harry and the other champions stepped up there were real risks, and not everyone would come out alive (RIP Cedric!). We wanted the introduction to this course to remind our guests, not only of the dangers inside the school, but also of the trouble brewing in the wizarding world outside the grounds…
We asked Prefect #4 to open their letter clue and read it aloud:
“You know the Prefects’ bathroom? It’s not a bad place for a bath.”
The biggest Potter-Nerds in the group immediately knew what they needed – “It’s the egg! We need to find an egg?!” – but didn’t realise that the clue needed to be taken literally. We gently egged them on (pun intended, I’m not sorry) asking, “where did Harry take the egg?”
Yep, we had hidden a golden dragon’s egg in the bathroom!
Prefect #4 scampered through the hallway and popped back in moments later with the shining egg held aloft! She opened it up – luckily we hadn’t been able to charm a mermaid’s voice inside, so there was no shrieking- and found inside a second clue to introduce the course, and some extra treats for our students.
The Goblet of Fire is notorious, not only for the return of Lord Voldemort, but also the introduction of the Dark Mark – the insignia of his Deatheaters, who have it burned into their forearms and project it into the sky to mark the site of atrocities. Harry first sees this mark fired into the sky in the aftermath of an attack on campers at the Quidditch World Cup, and later in the book sees how the tattoos are used as homing beacons, calling Voldemort’s loyal followers to his side.
As one of the most visceral images of the books, and a constant reminder of the danger Harry and his friends were in, we knew we wanted our guests to have their own copies to keep. We created our own Dark Marks, printing the image onto temporary tattoo paper, and hid them inside the Dragon Egg for our guests to apply while we served up the main course.
As the last dish was placed, we asked Prefect #4 to read aloud the note they found in the egg, which was Dumbledore’s speech before the Triwizard Feast:
“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, ghosts and — most particularly, — guests. I have great pleasure in welcoming you all to Hogwarts. Eternal glory! That’s what awaits the student who wins the Triwizard Tournament, but to do this, that student must survive three tasks. Three extremely dangerous tasks. The tournament will be officially opened at the end of the feast. I now invite you all to eat, drink, and make yourselves at home!”
And with that, we dove in!