"It’s time for the drawing. Albus Dumbledore crosses to the goblet and waits as it spits out a slip of paper. The crowd draws in a collective breath and then you can hear a pin drop, and I’m feeling nauseous and so desperately hoping, even though I’m not old enough to compete, that it’s not me, that it’s not me, that it’s not me.
"Dumbledore smoothes the slip of paper, and reads out the name in a clear voice. And it’s not me.
"It’s Ron Weasley.
"There must have been some mistake. This can’t be happening. There are dozens of slips of paper. And besides, he’s not even old enough. His chances of being chosen so remote that I’d not even bothered to worry about him. One slip. One slip in many. The odds had been entirely in his favour. But it hadn’t mattered.
"Somewhere far away, I can hear the crowd murmuring unhappily because no one thinks this is fair. Ron isn’t skilled enough, he'll most certainly be killed. But the Goblet has spoken. There’s nothing any of us can do. And then I see him, the blood drained from his face, hands clenched in fists at his sides, walking with stiff, small steps up toward the stage, passing me, and I hear him gulp, the way he does when he knows he’s in trouble. It’s this detail, the gulp, that brings me back to myself.
"'Ron!' The strangled cry comes out of my throat, and my muscles begin to move again. 'Ron!' I don’t need to shove through the crowd. The other students make way, immediately allowing me a straight path to the stage. I reach him just as he is about to mount the steps. With one sweep of my arm, I push him behind me.
"'I volunteer!' I gasp. 'I volunteer as tribute!'
"'Harry,' says Dumbledore. 'I believe there’s a small matter of Ron not being of age, and the fact that, um...' He trails off.
"'What does it matter?' says Snape. 'You know the volunteer subclause as well as I do. Let him come forward.'
"'Well...through the door, Harry,' says Dumbledore. He isn't smiling."