GoF Gaff: Serious continuity problem in Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire

I just finished reading the last Harry Potter book and noticed a big problem that I’ve never seen discussed. It’s not the usual one regarding the order of people who re-appear from Voldemort’s wand. It’s that Diggory should never have come out of Voldemort’s wand at all because Voldemort didn’t kill him.

In GoF, it describes Cedric Diggory’s death like this:

**[My emphasis.]

In other words Wormtail murdered Diggory, not Voldemort. Since it is quite clear that Wormtail used his own wand (Voldemort’s is in the pocket of his robes) Diggory should not have re-appeared.

Has anyone seen anything about this?

Presumably at that point Voldemort wasn’t in any shape for wand waving… Wormtail was using Voldemort’s wand, which Voldemort took back after the ritual that gave him his body back.

That’s what I assumed when I read the book.

First, Voldemort does use his own wand, like in the beginning of the book when he offs the old man in scene 24, err, the caretaker at the Riddle house.

Second, Wormtail has his own wand.

The bundle, BTW, is very clearly Voldemort wrapped up in his robes.

Voldemort has a wand, too.

Wormtail has a wand and Voldemort’s is in a pocket of the bundled robes that Wormtail carried Voldemort in. Rowling blew it.

Gee. She made a minor error with no bearing on the plot. My God in Heaven! My life is ruined! Woe, woe, WOE is me! How coul she betray me like that!

You’re right, she did blow it. I just cancelled my pre-order for the fifth book in the series… what was I thinking.

I would have thought that, since there’s been so much discussion about whether V’s victims came out of the wand in the right order, it would also have been of some passing interest that the wrong victims came out of the wand.

Somehow, this seems to really touch a nerve. I certainly don’t want to be responsible for a trainwreck in Cafe Society, though. Mods, please lock this thread.

Well, I noticed the problem in the first place, quite some time back. I think I even brought it up in a thread right on this site. I agree that it seems to be a problem, but I don’t remember Wormtail being described as holding a wand after resurrecting Voldemort. It could be argued that Wormtail slipped the wand into Voldemort’s pocket while he (Wormtail) was dressing him (Voldemort).

A more interesting question, to me, at any rate, is: How did the disembodied spirit of Voldemort manage to retrieve the wand from Godric’s Hollow? If Voldemort didn’t, who did? Was Wormtail there with Voldemort on that fateful night? If so, and if he was the one who retrieved the wand, where did he stash it during the twelve years that he spent as a rat?

Be kind of nice if Rowling would address these issues in her upcoming books.

Nah, don’t call for the thread to be locked up already! You’ve got me curious enough to go back and look at my own copy later and see if I can think of any logical explanation, although I think your explanation so far seems to strongly suggest there is a continuity problem there.

As for the “sky is falling” responses, don’t let them get to you so quickly. As you said, there have been lots of discussions about other continuity errors and there’s no reason to let those couple responses scare you off on this one.

Will the continuity error make me give up on the series or, in any appreciable way, alter the course of my life? No. Does that mean it’s necessary to belittle the OP which makes a pretty good case for another error of the sort that’s been discussed around here ad nauseum? Also no.

Oh, and I don’t think the thread really needs to be locked. I wish you would reconsider.

… although it’d be nothing short of a huge marketing ploy, I think I’d even be happy if she wrote some sort of “HP Companion” after the books to address some of the myriad of continuity, etc. issues. Most of these errors don’t take anything away from the enjoyment of reading the stories, for me anyway, but it’ll still be nice to see Rowlings directly address some of the questions and either give an answer, acknowledge a mistake, whatever. And if all the books were done first, well then she could just do it all at once! I won’t hold my breath, though.

I wondered about the whole “where does a disembodied spirit stash his wand” thing, too.

Then of course, there’s the whole thing about Harry’s father coming out of the wand and indicating that his mom will be out next (and she is), even though it’s indicated in other places that his dad died first. I heard that had been corrected in later editions, but of course, I don’t have later editions, so I don’t know.

I don’t see nits as a criticism of the author-- these things happen.

The wand order thing was corrected in later editions. My copy is correct.

But noticing isn’t picking nits! I’m on an HP mailing list full of people who like to spin long, contorted tales explaining such things…including the Wormtail/Voldemort wand issue. Quite fun, even if it’s all just based on an author’s mistake. The debate over the usage of “ancestor” when “descendent” was the proper word in one of the books was fun, let me tell you.

My suspicions are that Lucious Malfoy had the wand all these years.

Actually, what I’ve always wondered, and this one may have a legitimate answer, is what exactly happened to Voldemort’s body in Godric’s Hollow. He says in GoF that his spirit was ripped from his body, which suggests his body was still intact. Shouldn’t arriving wizards have found a body there? Wouldn’t they just assume he was dead? Or do you think that we are to assume that his body disappeared when his spirit left it…

I don’t think it’s nitpicking to notice continuity glitches like these ones. I’d love to see the books in manuscript form because if these glitches get through as minor, the MS must be gloriously mistake-ridden.

That fiend, Malfoy! Still leaves you with the question of how Voldemort would get it back… I mean, I seem to recall Malfoy being just as surprised as everyone else in book 4.

"Dear Lucius:

Immensely pleased to find that you are not in Azkaban, and can’t wait to hear why. Am staging my triumphant return. Wonder if you could find it in your heart to return my wand, to facilitate said return.

Your Dark Lord"

Or perhaps you might try and find a more respectful way than “Rowling blew it” to describe continuity problems, if you want respectful responses. Just a thought.

The fact is that while finding inconsistencies in the Harry Potter universe is fun, it really doesn’t matter if it was Wormtail’s wand that killed Cedric… it doesn’t change the story in any meaningful way. Rowling could certainly retcon the problem in another book in the series, but what would be the point? It would be awkward and not especially interesting. I want to know what’s going to happen next. Also it will inevitably invite further demands that other minor issues in past stories be corrected.



“And by the way,” Nearly Headless Nick said, “I know when we first met, I said I hadn’t eaten in nearly 400 years, and then a year later, I celebrated my 500th death-day? Well, ah, I was resurrected for a week after being dead for over 100 years-- yes, that’s the ticket…”

Okay, I’ll hush up.

Oh come on hazel-rah! Why on earth do you have this need for us to be tewwibly tewwibly respectful of an author who is apparently incapable of drawing flow charts and keeping track of what she said where and why?

For some of us, it does matter that the books are so poorly edited that glaring mistakes get through. They’re still a rattling good yarn but a damned fine edit would do them no harm at all. I wish she was a good enough writer that these ‘minor issues’ weren’t there in the first place.