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An Unexpected Champion

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It was Newt Scamander’s fourth year of Hogwarts. There was always a lot of excitement on the Hogwarts Express; friends reuniting after a summer apart, new students anticipating the adventure of school away from home and all that it entailed. Even shy and socially inept as he was, the crowds of people couldn’t dampen Newt’s enjoyment of another year at Hogwarts. The lessons were nearly always interesting, and the plethora of magical creatures that resided on the Hogwarts grounds and surrounding area meant that there were still new creatures for Newt to become acquainted with, even after three years of continuous wandering.

               Newt had been ignoring the general noise around him, but as the excitement increased, especially as everyone settled down in the Great Hall for the feast to begin, even he could not remain oblivious for long. The reason for the excitement was finally revealed as the last of the food disappeared and the Headmaster stood to make his customary beginning of year speech.

               “Welcome back to Hogwarts everybody. I hope you have all had a wonderful summer and are ready for a year of learning. As you are aware, this year the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place and it is Hogwarts’ very great honour to be the hosts of this marvellous event.”

At this announcement a great cheer went up around the hall, which was allowed for a few minutes before the Headmaster cleared his throat to regain the attention of the room. “I’m sure most of you are aware of what the Triwizard Tournament entails, but for those of you who do not allow me to explain.

               The Triwizard Tournament is a friendly competition held every five years, between the three largest European schools of witchcraft and wizardry – Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. A champion is selected to represent each school and they face three magical tasks, competing for the Triwizard Cup, the glory of their school and a thousand galleons prize money. Those students hoping to put their name forward will have the chance to once the representatives from the other schools have arrived. Selection of the three champions will be made by an impartial judge and once selected, the champions will be bound by a magical contract to compete. Anyone in their fourth year and above is welcome to enter their name for consideration but heed my warning; these tasks are highly dangerous and carry with them the risk of severe injury and even death. Many students have been lost in the past and while we hope to prevent that this year it is advisable to remember that before entering.”

               The room had fallen silent at the serious tone with which they were being addressed. But as the Headmaster informed everyone that it was time for them to go to their respective dormitories the students began to chatter excitedly about the upcoming event.

 

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               It was all anyone was talking about, everywhere that Newt went. However, the school was well into it’s second week of term before anyone addressed Newt on the subject. Unfortunately, the person asking was one of the current Seventh years that had taken to bullying him for the past year and a half. Newt was lining up in the corridor waiting to enter his next class when Sidney Pascon and his group noticed him and called out.

               “Hey, Scamander! We’re trying to find out who’s going to enter the Tournament. You’ll be putting your name in, won’t you?”

               Before Newt could reply one of Sidney’s friends laughed loudly. “Could you imagine? He’d be dead in the first five minutes! They’d be sending him home in a shoebox.”

               “True,” Sidney nodded. “Though it would probably be because you tripped over your own feet, right Scamander? You’d fall down a hole or knock yourself out.”

               For some reason that elicited laughter not just from Sidney’s small group but also some of the people from Newt’s class waiting in the corridor.

               “It would be funny to watch. Not sure it’s worth Hogwarts giving up their chance to win the cup.” Sidney walked off down the corridor with his friends, leaving Newt to be ignored once again.

 

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               Halloween approached and in the early evening of the 30th October, the whole school gathered outside to welcome their guests from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. That evening the Goblet of Fire was brought out and took its place in the entrance hall, with instructions given on how to enter. Newt gave it a curious glance on his way to bed that night but was otherwise preoccupied with the fox cub he had been nursing back to health for the last few days.

 

               After lunch the next day, Newt was on his way through the entrance hall with the intent of checking on the baby fox when he was faced once again by Sidney and three of his friends.

               “Scamander! Have you put your name in yet?”

               “Er, hello Sidney. No, I wasn’t planning to um, enter.”

               `Sidney seemed pleased to hear that. He pulled a slip of parchment out of his pocket and held it out to show Newt. It was Newt’s name. In the second that it took to realise what Sidney was planning, the older boy had already pulled the parchment back out of reach and started walking towards the Goblet.

               “N-no!” Newt lunged forward but was blocked by two of Sidney’s friends.

               “Please! D-don’t do this!”

               Sidney laughed turned to watch Newt’s reaction.

               “Please, Sidney!”

               The name disappeared into the blue flames. It was done.

 

               Newt ran all the way to his cupboard, where he had been caring for the injured creatures that he encountered. As soon as the door shut behind him, he sat on the floor and let the panic consume him. It was the feeling of soft fur against his hand some time later that distracted him enough to pull in some deeper, calming breaths and begin to think more clearly again. He gently lifted the fox onto his lap rubbing the top of its head the way he knew it enjoyed.

               “I’m being ridiculous William. What are the odds that my name will even be selected? There have already been dozens of others who have entered their names for Hogwarts. Anyway, it’s been done now. No sense in worrying about it. Worrying only means that you suffer twice.”

               Later that day, Newt took William back to the edge of the forest where he had first encountered him and, watching with pride and a little sadness, said goodbye to the now healthy creature. He turned back towards the castle and made his way to the Great Hall for the Halloween Feast.

 

               As always, the Halloween celebrations was spectacular. The food was amazing, and the decorations were always a sight to behold. The atmosphere was especially charged this year as everyone waited to find out who would be representing their schools in the coming tournament.

               Finally, the Headmaster stood and the room quickly fell into silence.

               “Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to announce the champions for the Triwizard Tournament.”

               Newt clapped politely as a tall girl from Durmstrang was selected, followed shortly after by a strong looking boy from Beauxbatons.

               “And finally, the student representing Hogwarts is…Newton Scamander!”

 

               Oh…oh dear.