Mr Crouch discusses Ministry matters with Arthur, Ludo Bagman and an awestruck Percy

Extract from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

by J.K. Rowling

‘Mr Crouch!’ said Percy breathlessly, sunk into a kind of half bow which made him look like a hunchback. ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

‘Oh,’ said Mr Crouch, looking over at Percy in mild surprise. ‘Yes – thank you, Weatherby.’

Fred and George choked into their own cups. Percy, very pink around the ears, busied himself with the kettle.

‘Oh, and I’ve been wanting a word with you, too, Arthur,’ said Mr Crouch, his sharp eyes falling upon Mr Weasley. ‘Ali Bashir’s on the warpath. He wants a word with you about your embargo on flying carpets.’

Mr Weasley heaved a deep sigh. ‘I sent him an owl about that just last week. If I’ve told him once I’ve told him a hundred times: carpets are defined as a Muggle Artefact by the Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects, but will he listen?’

‘I doubt it,’ said Mr Crouch, accepting a cup from Percy.

‘He’s desperate to export here.’

‘Well, they’ll never replace brooms in Britain, will they?’ said Bagman.

‘Ali thinks there’s a niche in the market for a family vehicle,’ said Mr Crouch. ‘I remember my grandfather had an Axminster that could seat twelve – but that was before carpets were banned, of course.’

He spoke as though he wanted to leave nobody in any doubt that all his ancestors had abided strictly by the law.

‘So, been keeping busy, Barty?’ said Bagman breezily.

‘Fairly,’ said Mr Crouch drily. ‘Organising Portkeys across five continents is no mean feat, Ludo.’

‘I expect you’ll both be glad when this is over?’ said Mr Weasley. Ludo Bagman looked shocked. ‘Glad! Don’t know when I’ve had more fun ... still, it’s not as though we haven’t got anything to look forward to, eh, Barty? Eh? Plenty left to organise, eh?’

Mr Crouch raised his eyebrows at Bagman. ‘We agreed not to make the announcement until all the details –’

‘Oh, details!’ said Bagman, waving the word away like a cloud of midges. ‘They’ve signed, haven’t they? They’ve agreed, haven’t they? I bet you anything these kids’ll know soon enough anyway. I mean, it’s happening at Hogwarts –’

‘Ludo, we need to meet the Bulgarians, you know,’ said Mr Crouch sharply, cutting Bagman’s remarks short. ‘Thank you for the tea, Weatherby.’

He pushed his undrunk tea back at Percy and waited for Ludo to rise; Bagman struggled to his feet again, swigging down the last of his tea, the gold in his pockets chinking merrily.

‘See you all later!’ he said. ‘You’ll be up in the Top Box with me – I’m commentating!’ He waved, Barty Crouch nodded curtly, and both of them Disapparated.

‘What’s happening at Hogwarts, Dad?’ said Fred at once. ‘What were they talking about?’

‘You’ll find out soon enough,’ said Mr Weasley, smiling.

‘It’s classified information, until such time as the Ministry decides to release it,’ said Percy stiffly. ‘Mr Crouch was quite right not to disclose it.’

‘Oh, shut up, Weatherby,’ said Fred.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

By J.K. Rowling