So I was reading Jezebel the other week when I came across this post. Basically it brings up a ‘flaw’ in the plot of the Goblet of Fire. Why doesn’t Barty Crouch JR just kidnap Harry on day one?
Anyway I meant to write a rebuttal at the time (because taking these things too seriously is kind of my deal) but then I got really busy/sleepy so I am just getting around to it now.
It is a fair point in some ways, the whole Triwizard tournament felt rather convoluted as a plot device. However, there is a reason which become apparent in the Order of The Pheonix if you are paying attention, looking at you Lindy West:
‘His comeback didn’t come off quite the way he wanted it to, you see. He messed it up.’
‘Or rather you messed it up for him,’ said Lupin, with a satisfied smile.
‘How?’ Harry asked, perplexed.
‘You weren’t supposed to survive!’ said Sirius. ‘Nobody apart from his Death Eaters was supposed to know he’d come back. But you survived to bear witness.’
That is Voldemort’s return is supposed to be a secret. If Harry Potter disappeared on the first day of term, when a new a notoriously unstable Professor had been appointed, under the very nose of Albus Dumbledore it probably would have caused quite the commotion. Harry would have disappeared before Rita Skeeters rumors about his instability were published and it would have been natural for people (particularly Dumbledore) to link his disappearance to Voldemort.
On the other hand, if Harry had disappeared during the notoriously dangerous Triwizard tournament it would be far less likely to cause a kerfuffle. Remember how easily Cedric’s death is dismissed as a tragic accident?
Now this may not have completely pacified Dumbledore but he would have had no actual evidence and, probably, no military support. The year at Hogwarts would also have had other advantages; the various disappearances would be more widely spaced; Barty Crouch Jr could gather information about Dumbledore and Hogwarts that would be useful to Voldemort; and as it turned out it was also a year in which Harry Potter was widely discredited and his faction weakened. There is also no saying how long the potion Voldemort used to achieve his transformation took to prepare. For instance the pollyjuice potion took around a month and I’m assuming a reincarnation process would be considerably more complex. For more on this see my post ‘How To Come Back From The Dead’.