45

As has been established in another question, although the four champions had to face really difficult challenges, the strong implication is that nobody in the audience could directly view their actions.

The first task makes the most sense to me. It seems to be quite entertaining for the audience. They could see the fights of the champions with their dragons but the second task had the audience watching the Black Lake for one full hour. Since Dumbledore had to question one of the merpeople about what happened, I don't believe that anybody was able to witness anything except when each of the champions reappeared on the surface.

The same goes for the third task. The audience watched the walls of the maze for the most time. Mrs Weasley and Bill came to the castle specially to watch the third task, but I don't think that there was anything interesting to watch at all.

So, if no-one could see anything, in what way was the Triwizard Tournament meant to be entertaining for the audience?

  • Scrying? Crystal balls? – Lexible Sep 26 '15 at 17:15
  • The question you link to doesn't even remotely say what you claim it says... – KutuluMike Sep 26 '15 at 17:20
  • @MikeEdenfield The lack of an answer seems to suggest that there was no way the audience could view things underwater or in the maze. – March Ho Sep 26 '15 at 23:19
  • Other than the rather well received answer which reminds us that "the magical world has special binoculars" which we've actually seen in action... – KutuluMike Sep 26 '15 at 23:47
37

Was it entertaining? Certainly it was.

Gambling

Like most events in the Wizarding world, there seems to be very significant sums of money being wagered on the outcome of each event.

‘Nope,’ said George, shaking his head. ‘The goblins play as dirty as him. They say you drew with Diggory, and Bagman was betting you’d win outright. So Bagman had to run for it. He made a run for it right after the third task.’

That alone should be enough to make the result quite interesting

What can be seen from the stands

As you've pointed out, each of the last two events does indeed takes place behind metaphorical 'closed doors' (the lake and the maze) but that's not to say that you can't see anything. The fun largely seems to come from the anticipation of who will emerge first.

The retelling of the events

It seems to be positively encouraged that the participants (the champions and the various patsies) will be expected to regale their stories to their adoring public, exaggerating and embellishing as they go. Like a poker game conducted in private, the stories that emerge are what's important.

One of the best things about the aftermath of the second task was that everybody was very keen to hear details of what had happened down in the lake, which meant that for once Ron was getting to share Harry’s limelight. Harry noticed that Ron’s version of events changed subtly with every retelling. At first, he gave what seemed to be the truth; it tallied with Hermione’s story, anyway – Dumbledore had put all the hostages into a bewitched sleep in Professor McGonagall’s office, first assuring them that they would be quite safe, and would awake when they were back above the water. One week later, however, Ron was telling a thrilling tale of kidnap in which he struggled single-handedly against fifty heavily armed merpeople who had to beat him into submission before tying him up.

  • 13
    Even with that, though, the last two tasks must have been perceived as decidedly inferior spectator sports to a regular Quidditch match. At least there you don’t have to wait an hour to get to the regaling, you can start your own straight away. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 26 '15 at 21:02
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    @JanusBahsJacquet: No, you have to wait two weeks if nobody catches the snitch (because the game is still running!). – Kevin Sep 27 '15 at 0:37
20

The Triwizard Tournament hadn't been around for 202 years. The last tournament was held in 1792.

As a result, it was a novelty! No one in living memory was around for one, and there was a significant amount of hype around it at the time. Hermione added to this by talking about the events of the 1792 tournament after which it was cancelled due to it being too dangerous. It was exciting because no-one knew what to expect. This, combined with audience anticipation to see what happened when the competitors did emerge (and who remained intact!), was probably enough to keep them happy for the duration of the event.

“Well, the Heads of the participating schools are always on the panel, because all three of them were injured during the Tournament of 1792, when a cockatrice the champions were supposed to be catching went on the rampage. It’s all in Hogwarts, A History.” —Hermione Granger

Hermione adds to the hype by talking about the events of the last tournament before it was declared too violent.

  • 2
    "Living memory" is a bit subjective in the Potterverse, given that there are many people who died centuries ago that can still communicate with the modern world via paintings, prophecies, memory pools and the like, or simply existing as a ghost. Still doesn't answer the question, since it would've been equally poor as a spectator sport back in the 18th century. – Darrel Hoffman Sep 28 '15 at 15:06
  • I chose the words "living memory" specifically for that reason - no one alive would remember. You're right that ghosts and portraits would still "remember" but I don't consider them to be alive. – user28875 Sep 28 '15 at 15:11
19

The best example from the muggle world would be Tour De France or any Marathon for that matter. For a TV audience it would be entertaining but for people in the stands(with no large display screens to see the action elsewhere on the track), who have bought seats at the finish line, its a long wait till competitors come in view for the last 500 m or so. So basically they have to wait in the sun for hours just anticipating who will race who to the finish line & win & probably indulge in batting.

Same can be applied to Triwizard Tournament, a long wait of anticipation till one by one candidates who are eliminated start appearing till the winner emerges

  • 1
    I like this analogy a lot. Where the TDF is concerened, everyone turns up to watch the riders go by with the rest of the time spent drinking, eating and drinking. – Valorum Sep 28 '15 at 8:21
  • Don't forget the commercial caravan passing and throwing things at your head! – Don_Biglia Sep 28 '15 at 10:08
  • Best answer, I feel. Any non-arena race has this trait. The closest is probably rally driving, since it also has the sense of potential danger to the spectators, too. We forget, in these days of TV, what real sports spectating is like. – Dewi Morgan Sep 28 '15 at 11:11
9

It has to do with the suspense. They are watching a tournament that is extremely dangerous and anything could possibly happen at any given time. As they stare into the black lake, they'd be wondering what is happening down there, and as mentioned above, they'd be talking to each other, creating theories of what each champion was doing. Wondering who would be the first to come up (and in comes the gambling, as also mentioned above).

The expectation would create the excitement.

With that said, it's important to note that the tournament wasn't necessarily a tournament to be fun watching. It was supposed to show which of three young wizards/witches was the best prepared, more knowledgeable, and strongest. It was a friendly way for schools to show they were better than each other, which would raise the school's will to do better, and would also make the school pride grow among the students. That's why there are virtually only students watching it. For them it would be fun because they would be cheering for their school. When you're doing things with your friends they become fun, even a very dull activity as watching a lake for an hour.

So, in conclusion:

The fun thing about the triwizard tournament wasn't in the actual tasks that the students had to face, but in (A) Gambling (as was mentioned above) (B) The students cheering together for their student pride (C) The rivalry created between the schools and (D) The expectation and suspense of what is about to happen. Who will win? What are they doing? Since they don't know it, they talk, think and create theories. That get's your attention.

8

Consider a muggle baseball game: People sit in the stands chatting with each other, drinking, playing games on their phones, arguing about which team/player is better/sucks more, eating snacks, etc., etc. and every once in a long while something exciting happens and everyone looks at the field for a moment or two, before getting back to whatever they were doing. Overall, everyone has a good, relaxing, and entertaining time of it!

The Triwizard tournament was like that, only without the phones.

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    Actually, the last two Triwizard tasks were more like that without the phones and the baseball game. It was kind of like everyone just sitting around looking at an empty stadium for a few hours, and then the teams come out from the changing rooms and announce who won the game. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 26 '15 at 21:00
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    Not sure that answers the question. I had always wondered why people consider baseball entertaining. All the things you do around the field (chatting, eating, drinking,...), you can do it in better conditions somewhere else. – Taladris Sep 27 '15 at 5:28
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Not just ordinary baseball,rather a game that hasn't been played for centuries and was originally banned for being too violent. – user28875 Sep 27 '15 at 7:57
  • @Taladris While it's certainly boring to watch baseball at home, there's a certain charm to the atmosphere and to being present, like with most sports. Not to mention the energy of several thousand fans watching/cheering next to you. – TylerH Sep 28 '15 at 14:32
  • @TylerH: not like any other sports. There are sports where something happens on the field all the time. I think that's the point of the question: why not more spectacular tasks in the Triwizards Tournament? Where the audience could gamble, cheer, drink, eat, chat, and see some action on the field. – Taladris Sep 28 '15 at 15:44

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