“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)” by J. K. Rowling
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy
Summary from Goodreads:
You have in your hands the pivotal fourth novel in the seven-part tale of Harry Potter’s training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards.
And in his case, different can be deadly.
So many good things in this book! Let’s see if I can address them all… I loved that this book was a bit different in terms of the story. I would absolutely go back to school if I could go to Hogwarts but it can make for a pretty repetitive story. This book shakes up the format a bit by adding the World Cup as well as the Tri-Wizard Tournament. [Sidenote: I’m not a sports person at all but I would totally be into Quidditch.]
This book marks the shifting point in the series. We’ve definitely matured. The biggest maturing fact is the deaths in the book. I think these are the first deaths to be witnessed in the series. Other deaths happen but they’ve been “off screen”. In the first chapter of the book readers witness the death of a muggle. Cedric’s death is definitely a bit shocking. You’ve spent the book growing fond of him. He is one of Harry’s opponents but he really is a great guy. So to have him murdered right in front of the readers is pretty gutsy. Many kid’s books have death in them but they aren’t witnessed by the reader. I know Goblet of Fire was one of the first books I read to have a character murdered in front of me. Then there’s the obvious darkness of the book, Voldemort is back. He’s not longer just a threat from the past. He is back in the physical form and he’s angrier and meaner than ever. You know bad stuff is going to go down.
Hermione stands out in this book! I like that she got to have a love interest outside their group. It’s a great change to see a guy falling for a girl’s intellect rather than her looks. I loved that she was able to be pretty levelheaded about the situation (aside from her arguments with Ron). She didn’t let the attention Krum was giving her go to her head nor did she drop her friends simply because a guy showed an interest in her. I had a love/hate relationship with Hermione and S.P.E.W.. I loved that she was so excited about it and really put everything into it. I didn’t like how annoying she came off though. I was a bit annoyed that she was shoving her own cultural ideas on the the house elves. She’s a smart girl I would think she would have been a bit more cautious about that.
This book brings the focus back on racism. Chamber of Secrets focuses on blood purity and Goblet of Fire continues that idea with species purity and species racism. It is an interesting idea that different “species” (Veela and Giants) can mix with wizards. I can definitely see how it’s problematic though. Equality is a good thing but I think we sometimes forget that the different “species” can be very dangerous. We all know Hagrid is a great guy. There’s no doubting that. Unfortunately giants are incredibly dangerous (which we discover in later books). I can see how people who don’t know him would be scared of him. It’s such a tricky subject. I do love that it adds so much depth to the series. Rowling created a history and political system to this world. It’s never fully laid out in front of the reader but is spread out through the books (and in interviews with her). It’s really fascinating.
Normally I’m not a fan of infodumping but Rowling is fantastic about it. The last 4 books in the series have HUGE infodumping sessions in them. I always looked forward to them. The endings of the books always tie up the story. You see how EVERYTHING comes together. All the little details have their place. Rereading the books is so much fun. I know how things end so I’m able to pick up on little things that I missed the first time because I didn’t know how it fit in. Brilliantly done.
The bottom line? Fantastic.