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Things Only Adults Notice During The Yule Ball In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire

"Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" marked a turning point in what was ultimately a seven-book (and eight-movie) saga about the titular boy wizard engaged in an epic, long-simmering battle with the evil, violent, and power-hungry Lord Voldemort. The fourth entry in the series includes a shocking death of a major and completely innocent young character, but it's also the first in which Harry Potter and his close friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger find themselves in the throes of teenager-hood, and experience all the drama and growing pains that come with that transitional period. The plot of "Goblet of Fire" hinges on a handful of milestone events: the Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament (in which the Hogwarts magic school stages wizarding challenges), and a Yule Ball, a formal and lavish winter dance that ultimately makes everyone uncomfortable and riddled with self-doubt.

The Yule Ball is one of the most wonderfully and elaborately realized sequences in the entire Harry Potter franchise, so there's a lot going on — so much so that only older viewers are equipped to notice everything. Here's what only the more mature and observant watchers will pick up in the Yule Ball scene in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

The dress code at the Yule Ball isn't very strict

The Yule Ball takes place about halfway through "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," and so there's a lot of lead up to it, with both students and professors talking about it and obsessing over it, particularly over who everyone's dates will be, what kind of activities happen at the event, and how steeped in tradition it is. It's basically made out to be this huge, intimidating thing that's been celebrated for a very long time and in a very certain way, a rite of passage and major occurrence in the life of wizards and witches. 

Nevertheless, the one aspect of the Yule Ball that seems to be surprisingly "anything goes" (as keen-eyed older viewers may notice) is the dress code. One would think that a happening ruled by tradition and protocol would require specific, almost uniform formal clothing choices among its attendees, but it does not. Only Ron Weasley seems to be forced to wear old, out-of-date clothes of historical and familial importance — strange and furry robes he says remind him of an elderly aunt. His best friend, Harry Potter, meanwhile shows up looking quite dapper and modern in a modified tuxedo and a white tie. Meanwhile, female students sport a variety of looks, from the traditionally Indian-inspired garb of the Patil twins to Hermione's pink prom dress.

The Yule Ball decorations are meaningful

Whether it's because they're bored and their brain and eyes are desperately searching for something that catches their interest in a movie ostensibly made for children, or because the skill of observance is one that comes with age, older viewers are far more likely to divert their attention away from the action and the main characters to take in the whole frame and notice small, subtle, or easy to overlook details. 

The Yule Ball scene in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" is full of quirky objects and little oddities seemingly placed as a reward for eagle-eyed, sophisticated viewers. As Harry and his gang enter the Yule Ball, the camera offers wide, establishing shots of the Great Hall magically done up for the event. Numerous tables are adorned with elaborate and intricate ice sculptures made to resemble imposing castles and medieval-style fortresses — not unlike Hogwarts itself, or Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, home institution of two visiting wizards participating in the Triwizard Tournament, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Klum, respectively.

And because this is a school dance, light refreshments are provided, particularly a large punch bowl. It's filled with blue liquid, which is visually striking and just looks like something wizards would drink. It's also part of Potter lore — it could be a known healing potion, meaning that drink is literally a refreshment.

Some Hogwarts kids are stuck playing in the orchestra

While the flashiest and most notable entertainment for the assorted teens and children at the Yule Ball is the wizard rock band, the Weird Sisters, there's another more traditional, more formal, and decidedly less rocking source of music for this magical night for magical boys and girls. As Harry, Ron, Hermione, and their ill-chosen dates enter into the Great Hall for the festivities; they do so to the strains of the Hogwarts school orchestra. 

As conducted by Professor Filius Flitwick, they seem to be a unit devoid of any magical or mystical trickery — it's just a bunch of wizards and witches from all the Hogwarts houses, playing their violas, violins, and other instruments. Subsequently, as older viewers who may have endured school-based musical ensembles either as a student or a parental spectator will relate and notice, the Hogwarts orchestra members looked quite bored, if not annoyed, to be playing staid, inoffensive, classical-type music. And with good reason: They don't get to participate in the Yule Ball, at least not initially — they're stuck working the event instead of enjoying it.

That moment when Harry potentially gets a crush on Hermione

Up until "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," main characters Harry, Ron, and Hermione are the best of friends — a three-sided bond that's simple, wholesome, supportive, and innocent. But by the fourth entry in the series, when all three are around 15 years old and well into adolescence (when hormones are raging and romantic feelings are starting to blossom), stuff gets more complicated. Secretly held crushes are divulged in a number of ways in the Yule Ball scene that will look familiar to older viewers who have lived through their teenage years. For example, Ron sulks and seethes with jealous rage throughout the entire dance because he didn't bring Hermione, and she tearfully calls him out on it, saying that he should've asked her when he had the chance, back before her actual date, Viktor Krum, did, as she would have accepted.

Spoiler alert: Later on in the "Harry Potter" series, Hermione and Ron admit their long-held feelings for one another, and they eventually marry and start a family. But back at the Yule Ball is when and where Harry acknowledges, for the first time, albeit subtlety, that he may have a bit of a crush (or more) on Hermione. When she descends the staircase to enter the Yule Ball, Harry gets all moony-eyed and tongue-tied, the telltale signs of a teenage heart going all aflutter.

Ron calls out Viktor Krum's less-than-innocent intentions

As older viewers with a bit more life experience and emotional intelligence will recognize, Ron's lousy attitude and nasty mood at the Yule Ball is caused by romantic confusion and frustration, to the point where he won't even hit the dance floor with his date for the evening, Padma Patil. Ron clearly wanted to go with Hermione, and Hermione wanted to go with Ron, and all that comes out in their confrontation, which begins with an exchange that's also full of euphemisms to adult subject matter that play just fine in a family-friendly movie like "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." First, an irritated Hermione asks Ron, "What's got your wand in a knot?" That's their phallically-centered version of "What's got your panties in a twist?" or another such slightly off-color phrase. 

After Hermione tells Ron that by attending the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, she's merely participating in the Trizward Tournmanet's spirit of "international magical cooperation," Ron crudely quips that Krum, so much older and more mature than the other wizards and witches to the point where he plays professional-level quidditch, has "more than friendship on his mind." Ron implying (to those who get it) that Viktor intends to have his way with Hermione causes her to storm off.

The Weird Sisters are real-life rock stars

Even in the wizarding world, adults will notice, school dances are subject to the same stuffy, tried-and-true traditions as they are in the non-magical realm. But then, after the Triwizard competitors and their dates open the dance floor with a ceremonial ballroom dance to a live orchestra, the true party can begin. As has been teased through the movie to this point, Hogwarts, as the premier school for spell-casting children in English-speaking Europe, had the pull to bring in for the Yule Ball, the Weird Sisters, said to be the most wildly popular wizard rock band going. 

Older viewers may recall a local band of renown or a garage band made up of fellow students playing their old school dances, but in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," this is akin to a British high school in the '60s landing the Beatles, or a British high school in the '90s landing an act at the level of Pulp or Radiohead. In fact, as music-interested viewers of this film will notice, members of those bands make cameos, singing and playing their instruments in character as the Weird Sisters. The lead singer and bassist are Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp, respectively, while the main guitarist and drummer are Radiohead's lead guitar player and drummer Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway. Their songs, "Do the Hippogriff" and "Magic Works," sound much like canonical, real-world Britpop tunes.