Editor's Preface: As every child knows, the death of Cedric Diggory in the summer of 1994 heralded the beginning of the Second War against the Dark Lord Voldemort. In death, Cedric was hailed as a model student and national hero, a self-effacing yet brilliant young man who died defending the honour of his school and the life of his comrade. Cedric Diggory, however, did not die on that night in June 1994. If these memoirs are to be believed, he survived the Killing Curse cast by Peter Pettigrew and fled to Pago Pago. It is a matter of public record that he was Hogwarts Champion in the Triwizard Tournament alongside Harry Potter, Seeker and Captain for his house Quidditch team, and recipient of nine OWLs, but little more was previously known about him. The discovery of this manuscript in a Little Whinging saleroom sheds a new light on his life and on those of his friends and contemporaries, the Golden Generation who fought Voldemort to a standstill and ushered in a period of peace all too few of them lived to enjoy. Despite the sometimes-incredible content of this memoir, its authenticity is almost unquestionable and the author's explanation speaks for itself. From the style, it seems probable that he dictated the whole thing either to his quill or to a close friend. The editor's role has been limited to correcting Mr Diggory's grammar, introducing consistency into his bizarre rendering of some names and adding historical footnotes. Whilst his grasp of history after his 'death' is somewhat shaky, he is first-class on Quidditch of all eras.
In what appears to have been a fit of extreme paranoia coupled with a desire to protect reputations, the front of the box of parchment, which comprises the manuscript, is labelled as follows:
To be opened after the deaths of: Cedric Diggory
Chang Cho Li
Professor Albus Dumbledore
Professor Pomona Sprout
And you'd better be damn sure Lord Voldemort really IS dead.
This command is backed up by an extremely unusual lock which no key can fit and no known charm can unlock. Fortunately for posterity, the fabric of the box itself was not quite so well protected.
I suppose this is a good time to tell the truth. I'm an old man now. I've had a long life well away from England and after sixty years it's likely that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is properly dead this time. The news here, such as it is, said Potter killed him in 1998. Potter 'killed' him in 1981 as well; see how much that helped us. Anyway, nobody and nothing can touch me now, so it can't hurt to tell the real story about the 83rd Triwizard Tournament, the return of the greatest Dark Lord the world has ever seen (right before my eyes), and my survival by ducking, playing dead and running like hell, things no one would expect of a Triwizard Champion. I sometimes wonder what Potter did with my share of the cash. Probably gave it all to starving orphans or something, the honourable little twit. But I digress.
Nobody was more surprised than I when I was selected as Hogwarts Champion. Everyone knew I only had two talents, Charms and flying - to which I'd quite like to add charming the flighty. In that subject, my record is long and distinguished. For academic references, consult Beauxbatons' classes of 1994 to 1996, and don't be surprised when they pronounce my name 'Sade-reek.' Sounds ridiculous, but I can tell you it's not nearly as bad when it's coming from a Veela1 with legs up to...
Got a bit distracted again there. That's somewhere in the middle of the story, anyway. It starts with me ending up in Hufflepuff, to the great irritation of the family's hordes of Ravenclaw (or should that be ravening?) bookworms. I don't really know how that happened: I've never worked hard if I could avoid it, equality is for people with no chance of being on top on their own merits, and as for loyalty, well, you can ask the aforementioned Beauxbatons classes about that. Most likely it's because I asked the Hat not to make me a Slytherin, for the very sensible reason that I thought my mother would kill me. Gryffindor was right out, but the Hat blathered for a long time before eventually declaring that I 'had a decent mind, but didn't really want to be academic,' leaving the Duffers' House with an unexpected infusion of style.
That's not really too relevant either, though. The short version of the next few years is that I made a few friends of the sort who can detect success a mile away and follow it around like (and often with) a bad smell, got into the house Quidditch team in my fourth year, and got very good very quickly at cramming, plagiarism, divining the content of exams and brown-nosing the more susceptible teachers. Last-minute revision was nasty, but my talent for getting away with less than I should have needed meant that I didn't have to do too much. Incidentally, the only exam you couldn't hope to predict was Divination. Funny, that. You might almost think the Stick Insect was a complete fraud. I should know - one fake can always recognise another2.
I first noticed Potter's existence when I beat him in the opening Quidditch match of my fifth year. As far as I know, I'm the only Seeker ever to defeat him - something that made my father ridiculously proud. OK, most of the things I'm proud of he never knew about, but did the officious old fool have to latch on to one Quidditch match as the high point of his life? He wasn't even there. It was after that game, though, that I first found out how much fun being a house hero can be. Flown with success, I even offered Gryffindor a rematch (knowing full well that nobody ever replays matches because of injury or accident), which went down a storm with the honourable, fair-minded and frequently somewhat dense Hufflepuffs.
Before that time, I was reasonably popular with the younger Hufflepuffs, but for one night everyone wanted to know me. Even the seventh-years, so busy and self-important they normally didn't seem to notice the rest of the school, lined up to shake my hand and tell me what a fine fellow I was. All rubbish; if we'd lost, it would have been 'well tried, Diggory, now go away.' The girls' reactions were surprising though, innocent as I was then. Ever since, I've been relying on what I learned that night; most women will melt in the presence of six feet of victorious Quidditch player, and if the effect doesn't last too long, there're always more where they came from. That aside, whenever I see the name of Potter (there's hundreds running around now) in the news, which is pretty often even way down here after this long, I can think with great satisfaction that the Potter never once beat me. One proper Dark Lord, a few aspirants, two other Triwizard Champions, innumerable Hogwarts Quidditch players and Death Eaters lost various things to Harry Potter, but not poor dead Cedric Diggory.
The rest of that year I spent basking in my newfound glory as star player, trying not to get killed by a particularly vicious Slytherin team (glory's no use to a headless corpse), and conning all sorts of people into doing my work for me. Stebbins, for example, could never resist demonstrating how brilliant he was at essays and as long as I put up with his sarcasm, he corrected everything I wrote. In return, I let him hang around with me, introduced him to one of the Fawcetts (the young one, I think) and occasionally deigned to play Gobstones with him. I enjoyed that year, nearly as much as I did the majority of the next, when I wasn't fleeing enraged Veela, hiding from merpeople, dodging dragons or being murdered by dead Dark Lords. I even got to see the World Cup, though that might have been more fun if I hadn't spent the party afterwards being marched over by three dozen Death Eaters whilst I played dead for all I was worth.
1This presumably refers to the celebrated Fleur Weasley, nee Delacour. In fact she was one quarter Veela, the Beauxbatons champion in the Triwizard Tournament and, after her marriage to William Weasley, one of the foremost heroines of the Second War. As far as any of her surviving relatives can remember, she never mentioned having met Cedric Diggory.
2 It is strange that Diggory refers to Professor Sybil Trelawney as a 'fraud.' The Seer is, of course, best known for receiving the Potter Revelations, as her three prophecies regarding the Voldemort Wars are generally known. Perhaps Diggory was not a great believer in Divination or Prophecy.