In The Goblet Of Fire we see that Madam Maxime and Karkaroff did not know details about the Tournament's tasks (it is best seen on the dragons example). Apparently it was done to avoid them helping their champions get ready for the tasks. The whole event is soaked with atmosphere of distrust and rivalry. How come then that they were OK with Dumbledore and at least some other teachers (Hagrid, Moody, McGonagall) from Hogwarts to be aware of the tasks and thus to be able potentially expose the details to their champions (especially after Hogwarts having two champions instead of one)?

Here is a quote that shows Moody already knew about the dragons.

Harry wondered what was in there, until Moody's next question brought him sharply back to earth. "So. . . found out about the dragons, have you?"

There is also a passage that makes me think McGonagall also new about dragons before the task:

He left the Great Hall with Professor McGonagall. She didn't seem herself either; in fact, she looked nearly as anxious as Hermione. As she walked him down the stone steps and out into the cold November afternoon, she put her hand on his shoulder. "Now, don't panic," she said, "just keep a cool head. . . . We've got wizards standing by to control the situation if it gets out of hand. . . . The main thing is just to do your best, and nobody will think any the worse of you. . . . Are you all right?"

And of course Dumbledore is supposed to know what is going on at the school grounds. So why would the Tournament rules prevent the heads of other schools know it as well? Does not seem fair at all.

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    It seems like this would be a 'need-to-know' basis. Dumbledore and the senior staff of Hogwarts would need to arrange magic defences, medical responders, etc. The heads of the other schools are merely there to support their own champions.
    – Valorum
    Sep 22, 2018 at 14:21
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    @Valorum The Ministry is heavily involved in the running of the Tournament (Hogwarts didn't supply the dragons, for instance), so there's no reason anybody from Hogwarts needs to be involved in arranging "magic defences, medical responders, etc." Sep 22, 2018 at 14:27
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    @Odin1806 When they had a cerberus locked behind a door that a first-year student could open using a simple spell, the only "protection" they had was telling the students "Don't go to this corridor unless you want to die." Yes, the staff knew about it in that case, but there's no reason they had to know. In this case "We're going to be bringing something dangerous - obviously we can't tell you what because it would give your champion an unfair advantage - onto Hogwarts grounds, and keeping it in this far away area that no students ever need to go to, tell them to avoid it." seems sufficient. Sep 22, 2018 at 14:51
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    @AnthonyGrist - That wasn't the only protection though. Obviously there does seem to be a lot of 'we said not to, we hold no liability' in the Potterverse, but Fluffy was in a position that he could only harm someone who went looking for trouble/the stone. He could not get out of that room into the school. Also, at least some of the instructors knew about him and were prepared to defend the students if necessary. And those are the only things we know, there could be more preparations in place... Same goes for the dragons. Not telling the school staff the potential dangers would be inadvisable.
    – Odin1806
    Sep 22, 2018 at 15:20
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    @Odin1806 Fluffy was left completely unmonitored for large parts of the day inside the castle, where the students live. A castle that is known to move around and be extremely confusing to new students, by the way. Other first years could have easily wandered into the off-limits corridor without even realising it (exactly as Harry, Ron, Hermione and Neville did) because there was absolutely nothing stopping them from doing so. The locked door was the only thing preventing them from coming into contact with a three-headed dog. Sep 22, 2018 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


I don't see any evidence that the rules allowed Dumbledore to know what the tasks were significantly in advance. In fact, I don't see any evidence that Dumbledore actually did know the tasks significantly in advance, nor any evidence that anyone was ever officially told significantly in advance.

We know that Hagrid knew about the First Task, but that was because Charlie had showed him the dragons for his personal enjoyment, not because he was supposed to be told by anyone. Moody knew about the dragons as well, but there is a simple explanation for this. As he told Dumbledore under the influence of Veritaserum:

My master had found out that I was still alive. He had captured Bertha Jorkins in Albania. She told him a great deal. She told him about the Triwizard Tournament.

As Bertha Jorkins worked for Bagman's department, which was the department that was running the tournament, it is entirely conceivable that she told Voldemort what the tasks were, and Voldemort in turn told Moody.

As for how McGonagall knew about the dragons, it is possible that she was told illegally as well, or it is possible that she did not actually know about them much in advance. The quote that demonstrates that she knew comes as she is bringing Harry to the task. By that point the dragon enclosure and stands had already been set up; it it likely that many people knew about the dragons by then.

When we get to the Second Task we again find that Moody and McGonagall appeared to know about it in advance. As explained above, Moody's knowledge is already accounted for. With McGonagall, once again we only see that she knew about it on the morning of the task when Moody discussed it with her in the staffroom. As Moody told Harry after the Third Task:

I called the elf to the staffroom to collect some robes for cleaning. I staged a loud conversation with Professor McGonagall about the hostages who had been taken, and whether Potter would think to use Gillyweed.

Once again it is possible that McGonagall only knew about the task because it was about to start, or it is possible that she found out about it illegally (perhaps even from Moody).

In this case, Dumbledore also must have known the nature of the task at least the night before, as per Hermione's version of events:

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.

Again, though, this was close enough to the task that for all we know all the heads had been told at this point (especially if their cooperation would have been needed to take the hostages).

In short, I don't see any acknowledgement that anyone from any of the three schools was allowed to be told about the tasks significantly in advance. Everyone had the choice to cheat and some may have cheated more than others, but I don't see any evidence that Dumbledore/Hogwarts was deliberately given an unfair advantage.

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    True. But then we have Skrewts and Acromantula in the maze meaning that at least Hagrid was involved at the task preparations.
    – Shana Tar
    Sep 23, 2018 at 6:35
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    @ShanaTar The Third Task is a different story. Everyone knew about it. The champions themselves were told a month in advance. It was never meant to be a secret like the other two were.
    – Alex
    Sep 23, 2018 at 6:39
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    They were told about the maze in general and of course everyone could see it's been grown on the field. But they were not told what expected there - like you will meet such and such - which would be similar to knowing about dragons and being able to train specific spells. It was not said in the books specifically, but I believe the maze quests had to be a secret to the champions and therefore their superiors as well.
    – Shana Tar
    Sep 23, 2018 at 6:57
  • Hogwarts was hosting, which presumably affords certain rights and responsibilities. It is entirely plausible this would include warning trusted high-level school administrators before bringing dragons onto school grounds. As multiple people have said in the comments, dragons are dangerous, and someone has to keep the non-participant students safe. It would be irregular, and possibly dangerous, to entrust this solely to the Ministry without informing any member of the Hogwarts staff. What if Filch decides to send a couple of students into the forest on detention?
    – Kevin
    Oct 25, 2018 at 4:43
  • @Kevin The dragons were only there for about three days before the task, and from the description of Harry walking to where they were they don't seem to have been near where students would be sent on detention. When we do see the dragons they are attended by ~30 dragon-keepers so even if a student did happen to stumble into the area they probably wouldn't be in too much danger anyway.
    – Alex
    Oct 25, 2018 at 4:57

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