Reviewing the Pages: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Lord Voldemort, the dark wizard responsible for the deaths of Harry’s parents, is growing stronger. At the Quidditch World Cup, Voldemort’s signature Dark Mark appears in the sky over the stadium, causing pandemonium. The lightning-bolt-shaped scar on Harry’s forehead is sporadically causing him agonizing pain, and he is also hearing disturbing voices. Harry realizes that all this is the result of a strong connection between himself and the Dark Lord, one that is putting him in grave danger.

Back at Hogwarts, the students are getting ready for the upcoming Triwizard Tournament. Witches and wizards from two other schools are coming to Hogwarts for the year to compete in a series of grueling contests. The tournament is open only to students age 17 and above, but when someone secretly enters Harry’s name, he is forced to compete. How can a 14-year-old possibly pass tests that might be fatal to an advanced wizard? And with the threat of Lord Voldemort looming, will he be able to focus on the tournament at all?

For Harry, his friends, and everyone in the Wizarding world, the stakes are about to become much higher. This fourth installment, with a heart-pounding and emotional climax, serves as a turning point in the series, for the reader and for Harry himself.

The bridging of the ways, as it were. While Prisoner of Azkaban seemed to keep itself apart from the story, minus a few intersecting plot lines to keep the book tied into saga of Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire does the exact opposite. Goblet is our bridge between the first third of the series, with Harry learning about the magical world he suddenly finds himself in, and the second, and much darker half, in which fights to save the world. Characters come and go, grow in positive ways, and decline in spectacular fashion. Rowling does a phenomenal job of strengthening our core trio’s relationships with more fights and arguments than meets the eye, but those only serve to strengthen the bond with the other character more. If you’ve stuck around with the series up to this point, it is in your best interest to read this book, to give yourself a small case of dread as the book wraps up, and prepare yourself for much darker portions to come.

First off, if you haven’t read the series yet, OR read the books in the first place…then why in the heck are you here?

[grump]

Anyway, as I said in my Goodreads review, this is a book that serves as a bridge.  The book tests the darker waters for just a moment with the death of Cedric Diggory, and the subsequence aftermath with the duel against Voldemort.  I do feel like, for the most part, J.K. Rowling captures the shock afterwards with Harry pretty well, using a bit of magic to get Harry through the worst of it; watching someone that you know, at least somewhat well, get killed right in front of your eyes…so to speak anyway.

Another thing that Rowling did well here is strengthen the bonds of the trio by testing that very strength.  With the fight with Ron over how Harry (didn’t) put his name into the Goblet of Fire, thus seeking more attention, the boys manage to make up in a quick fashion and get back to being good friends again.  Which, kinda works that way in real life sometimes.  I can relate to striking out and testing the strength of a bond, only to look back at it again and find it stronger than it was when I tested it.  And for Harry, at 14, having this sort of complex and unbreakable bond with his two closest friends will serve him well.

Goblet of Fire is definitely not lacking in action, from each of the three tasks to the events of the Quiddich World Cup, and these tie into nicely with Harry trying to figure out what the heck to do with his clues to complete the tasks, as well as the ever increasing (re)introduction of Voldemort into the Wizarding World.  Though, while I wasn’t too keen on Fudge, I outright loathed him as a character at the very end, with his denial of the return of Voldemort.  One could liken it to a scandal-involved politician.  Or those too blinded with power to see, or want to acknowledge, the very problem that threatens them.

There’s one thing that bugs me…did they ever retrieve Barty Crouch Sr.’s body from under Hagrid’s yard? One can only assume that they did.  After all, perish the thought that Crouch Sr. could possibly be a chew toy for one very large dog.

I know I plan on continuing the series rather soon, and looking forward to continuing the saga of Harry Potter, right to it’s very end.

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