As Harry, Ron, and Hermione come of age during their fourth year at Hogwarts, they begin to experience many "firsts" of puberty: they tackle romance and romantic jealousy for the first time, both of which seriously strain their friendships. However, as Harry progresses through the Tournament tasks, watches Hermione and Ron bicker, and learns important information about his classmates, he begins to realize that, in terms of emotional maturity, developing a sense of empathy for and curiosity about others is one of the best things he can learn--and if he learns these skills, his friendships will benefit.
As soon as the Goblet of Fire sends out Harry's name, naming him the fourth Champion, Harry feels young and inferior in comparison to the other three Champions. Fleur, Krum, and Cedric appear impossibly mature: Krum and Cedric are handsome and look like adult men, while Fleur is described as a physically mature young woman. However, though Harry fixates on this sense of physical inferiority, he demonstrates compassion and caring for his fellow competitors that, in terms of emotional development and empathy, place him far ahead of the other three. Harry shares with Cedric that the first task will be taking on dragons, which he chooses to do after he realizes that Cedric will be the only Champion in the dark about what the first task entails. Then, during the second task, Harry chooses to remain underwater until all four Champions' kidnapped loved ones have been saved, and even insists on saving Fleur's little sister, Gabrielle, when Fleur doesn’t arrive to save her herself. Though this sense of caring for his fellow competitors ends up being Cedric's downfall when the third task goes awry, it's telling that the Hogwarts champions choose to win together--this indicates that both of them, over the course of the Tournament, have learned the value of caring for each other and behaving in unselfish ways.
In contrast to the compassion and empathy that Harry develops in regards to his competitors, the arguments caused by the onset of pubescent romantic desire in Harry, Ron, and Hermione illustrate that empathy and understanding aren't skills that individuals acquire all at once. While Hermione puts Dumbledore's words about the Tournament being about building relationships into practice by attending the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, Ron explodes with jealousy and rage at both Krum and Hermione in a manner that's wildly immature and, given his reasoning, incredibly selfish: he insists that Hermione is "fraternizing with the enemy," a statement that suggests that Ron doesn't view Krum as an individual worthy of respect, consideration, or even a fun evening with a girl who happens to be Ron's friend.
Harry's defining moment in terms of developing empathy for others and, specifically, learning how empathy can and will positively impact his friendships, comes after he takes an accidental trip into Dumbledore's Pensieve, which allows Harry to view some of Dumbledore's memories and reveals important facts about Neville. Through his experience in the Pensieve and his conversation with Dumbledore afterward, Harry learns that Neville lives with his grandmother because his parents, who were active members of the resistance against Voldemort, were tortured by Voldemort’s followers and are now insane. After learning this, it occurs to Harry that he never thought to ask Neville anything about his home life, his parents, or his grandmother. In particular, the way that Harry frames this as being about his own failures--the issue isn't that Neville never chose to share, it's that Harry never asked--represents a major leap for Harry, as it indicates that Harry recognizes that his peers are multifaceted and complex individuals with meaningful pasts, just like him--and that if he can go on to be more curious about his peers, his friendly relationships with those peers have the potential to turn into actual friendships.
The experience of seeing Voldemort return and, in particular, seeing Peter Pettigrew kill Cedric during the third task impresses upon Harry that behaving selfishly in his thoughts and actions isn't possible if he wishes to effectively confront Voldemort in the future. The arbitrary nature of Cedric's death shows Harry that even though he is special and has a unique connection to Voldemort, he's by no means the only one at risk with Voldemort in power--other people may die or suffer horrific fates, as Cedric does and Neville's parents did. With this, Harry makes his final leap to understanding the power of empathy and by bringing Cedric's body back to his family per his ghost's request, Harry demonstrates that going forward, he will fight Voldemort's evil not with age or with skill, but with kindness and empathy for his friends and peers.
Empathy and Love ThemeTracker
Empathy and Love Quotes in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
"Those two!" she burst out savagely, now pulling pots and pans out of a cupboard, and Harry knew she meant Fred and George. "I don't know what's going to happen to them, I really don't. No ambition, unless you count making as much trouble as they possibly can..."
"I don't get it," said Ron, frowning. "I mean...it's still only a shape in the sky..."
"Ron, You-Know-Who and his followers sent the Dark Mark into the air whenever they killed," said Mr. Weasley. "The terror it inspired...you have no idea, you're too young. Just picture coming home and finding the Dark Mark hovering over your house, and knowing what you're about to find inside..." Mr. Weasley winced. "Everyone's worst fear...the very worst..."
"Now, according to the Ministry of Magic, I'm supposed to teach you countercurses and leave it at that. I'm not supposed to show you what illegal Dark curses look like until you're in the sixth year. You're not supposed to be old enough to deal with it till then. But Professor Dumbledore's got a higher opinion of your nerves, he reckons you can cope, and I say, the sooner you know what you're up against, the better."
He heard Ron come up into the dormitory a short while later, but he did not speak to him. For a long time, Harry lay staring up at the dark canopy of his bed. The dormitory was completely silent, and, had he been less preoccupied, Harry would have realized that the absence of Neville's usual snores meant that he was not the only one lying awake.
"Oh Harry, isn't it obvious?" Hermione said despairingly. "He's jealous!"
"Jealous?" Harry said incredulously. "Jealous of what? He wants to make a prat of himself in front of the whole school, does he?"
"Look," said Hermione patiently, "it's always you who gets all the attention, you know it is. I know it's not your fault," she added quickly, seeing Harry open his mouth furiously. "I know you don't ask for it...but--well--Ron's got all those brothers to compete against at home, and you're his best friend, and you're really famous--he's always shunted to one side whenever people see you, and he puts up with it, and he never mentions it, but I suppose this is just one time too many..."
"Why are you telling me?" he asked.
Harry looked at him in disbelief. He was sure Cedric wouldn't have asked that if he had seen the dragons himself. Harry wouldn't have let his worst enemy face those monsters unprepared--well, perhaps Malfoy or Snape...
"It's just...fair, isn't it?" he said to Cedric. "We all know now...we're on an even footing, aren't we?"
"He's from Durmstrang!" spat Ron. "He's competing against Harry! Against Hogwarts! You--you're--" Ron was obviously casting around for words strong enough to describe Hermione's crime, "fraternizing with the enemy, that's what you're doing!"
"Yes," said Hermione in a heated voice, "he sacked her, just because she hadn't stayed in her tent and let herself get trampled--"
"Hermione, will you give it a rest with the elf!" said Ron.
Sirius shook his head and said, "She's got the measure of Crouch better than you have, Ron. If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
"Crouch let his son off? I thought you had the measure of him, Hermione! Anything that threatened to tarnish his reputation had to go; he had dedicated his whole life to becoming Minister of Magic. You saw him dismiss a devoted house-elf because she associated him with the Dark Mark again--doesn't that tell you what he's like? Crouch's fatherly affection stretched just far enough to give his son a trial, and by all accounts, it wasn't much more than an excuse for Crouch to show how much he hated the boy...then he sent him straight to Azkaban."
Dumbledore gave Harry a very sharp look. "Has Neville never told you why he has been brought up by his grandmother?" he said.
Harry shook his head, wondering, as he did so, how he could have failed to ask Neville this, in almost four years of knowing him.
As Harry took off his glasses and climbed into his four-poster, he imagined how it must feel to have parents still living but unable to recognize you. He often got sympathy from strangers for being an orphan, but as he listened to Neville's snores, he thought that Neville deserved it more than he did.
"And I answer myself, perhaps they believed a still greater power could exist, one that could vanquish even Lord Voldemort...perhaps they now pay allegiance to another...perhaps that champion of commoners, of Mudbloods and Muggles, Albus Dumbledore?"
"The second step you must take--and at once," Dumbledore pressed on, "is to send envoys to the giants."
"Envoys to the giants?" Fudge shrieked, finding his tongue again. "What madness is this?"
"Extend the hand of friendship, now, before it is too late," said Dumbledore, "or Voldemort will persuade them, as he did before, that he alone among wizards will give them their rights and their freedom!"
"I say to you all, once again--in the light of Lord Voldemort's return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust. Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open."