While looking at this, How did Hermione catch Rita Skeeter?, it mentions that it would be kinda hard for Rita Skeeter to respond to Hermione as a beetle. This got me thinking:

How did Rita ask the questions to the Slytherins as a beetle? As in that scene where Draco is holding her in his hand, and talking to her.

"Come and look at this," said Ron, who was standing by the window. He was staring down onto the grounds. "What's Malfoy doing?"

Harry and Hermione went to see. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle were standing in the shadow of a tree below. Crabbe and Goyle seemed to be keeping a lookout; both were smirking. Malfoy was holding his hand up to his mouth and speaking into it.

"He looks like he's using a walkie-talkie," said Harry curiously.

"He can't be," said Hermione, "I've told you, those sorts of things don't work around Hogwarts. Come on, Harry," she added briskly, turning away from the window and moving back into the middle of the room, "let's try that Shield Charm again."
-The Goblet of Fire, chapter 31


"When we saw Malfoy under that tree..." said Ron slowly.

"He was talking to her, in his hand," said Hermione.
-The Goblet of Fire, chapter 37

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    Presumably she didn't. She outed herself at some point to Malfoy, evidently, and at that point must also have told him what kind of juice she was interested in. The other times when she appears, the Slytherin lot would just have spoken to her, giving her quotes, with no need for her to ask questions. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 3:40
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    Rita Skeeter was in a band? Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 4:26
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    Or maybe she mailed Draco the questions and along with the meeting point and time. When he met her, Draco just went "Answer 1: I was attacked by a Hippogriff and Goyle was bitten by a flobberworm... Answer 2: We're all terrified of Hagrid...." and so on. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 8:00
  • Responding to Hermione as a beetle really wouldn't be difficult. "Tap on the glass (or, I guess, fly into the glass) once for yes, twice for no. I know you're an unregistered Animagus, I want you to stop writing things about Harry, if you don't I'll tell everybody your secret. Do you understand?" Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 10:23
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    I don't recall it being laid out in the story, but I question if she'd out herself to Malfoy; my guess would have been "I'm going to send you a way to communicate with me; I'll send you.. oh.. How about a little beetle? Talk to it, and what it hears, I will hear/it will relay to me." or something similar. But I have no backup; it just seems in character for her.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


While looking at this, How did Hermione catch Rita Skeeter? It mentions that it would be kinda hard for Rita to respond to Hermione as a beetle.

I can't remember if that is true, but it seems plausible.

How did Rita ask the questions to the Slytherins as a beetle?

You presume that they had a dialogue while Rita was in beetle form. But she needn't have had a chat with Malfoy. She could easily have contacted Malfoy before transforming into a beetle, telling him and his friends which information she needed. Then all she had to do was appear in transformed shape and Malfoy could tell her all she needed to know without the need of responding.

Maybe she visited Hogwarts periodically, maybe just when she needed to or when Malfoy contacted her. All plausible. But all Malfoy had to do was give away information about Harry, Ron, and Hermione to let them stand in a bad light.

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