Hello everyone! Last week, I spent a lot of time reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the first time. So far, it is my favorite book I think. In this post, I am going to discuss some of what my initial thoughts have been after finishing it. Please note that spoilers up to the 4th book are going to be present within this post. Please also note that this is my opinion. I get that some may disagree, but please be respectful about it.
Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
So initially, I was quite nervous about how long the book is. It is 734 pages, and I am a pretty slow reader. One thing that I found is that as I immersed myself in the story, the pages flew by. Before I knew it, I had read 400 pages in one day. I quite enjoy that feeling while reading. The worst books are the ones where you have to push yourself to turn the page and keep reading. Rowling does not just have a talent for story building, but also for energetic and thrilling story telling. Harry Potter is more than just the central plot; it is a specific style of story telling with its own unique elements that I have found in very little other books (I am not much of a reader though).
One thing I like about this book is that it began to hit on more mature ideas. The prisoner of Azkaban did this too, but not as much as Goblet of Fire in my opinion. The story flows, but it also has central ideas. Ideas of love, persistence, and triumph; ideas of jealousy, deceit, and loss. While the first books did have these ideas too, they were sugar coated in my opinion. I will discuss some of the scenes that I think demonstrated these ideas.
Love and Jealousy
The ideas of love and jealousy were evident in Harry's pursuits of Cho Chang. It is always wise for an author to include ideas such as this in any book since they are so relatable for anyone. One thing that surprised me was that I thought Harry and Cho would wind up together based on the lead up in the previous books. I was rooting for CHarry. Then the Yule ball came, and the curve ball was thrown that she was going with Cedric. I did not see that coming, and I really felt bad for Harry.
You also see these ideas played with between Hermione and Ron, and with their respective interests (Krum and Fleur); as well as between Harry and Ron.
Persistence and Deceit
The idea of persistence is quite evident in the entire book. I can imagine that a lot of people would be very angry if placed in the situation that Harry was placed in. The entire school believed he had cheated to enter the tournament. This belief was evident to the extent that Harry's own best friend believed it. If placed placed in that situation, I can imagine a lot of people would give up, but Harry tried to prove himself. He and his friends worked hard to prepare for the tasks.
At the same time, ideas such as deceit are played with quite frequently. Embodied in characters such as Rita Skeeter, and Barty Crouch Jr. I specifically related to Barty Crouch Jr. a lot at first before the twist came. I felt bad for the way he had been treated by his father. But, as a character, knowing all that is to be known now, I think Barty Crouch Jr's job description is quite obviously deceit. Think about it. He tried to deceive the wizarding world into believing he was innocent. He escaped Azkaban through deceit. He hid for a long time through deceit, and he helped Voldemort through deceit by disguising himself as "Mad Eye" Moody. At the same time, Rita Skeeter is also a representation of deceit. Her only role in the book is making people's lives suck through deceitful reports.
Triumph and Loss
Triumph is quite obvious to spot in this book. While many thought Harry would fail, he proved himself capable of victory. I specifically enjoyed the scene with the Horntail dragon. In every task, Harry was at least partially triumphant. You may argue that this was because of Barty Crouch Jr, but I still think that Harry's skill played a large role in his triumph. Even if he was somewhat pushed along the way.
One specific scene that was quite moving for me was the scene that portrayed loss: when Harry was dueling with Voldemort, and the echos of the people Voldemort had killed came out of his wand. This included Cedric Diggory, and Harry's own parents. It was so touching that the people Harry had lost seemingly came from beyond the grave to help Harry to escape Voldemort. Specifically, I was moved by the idea of an orphan finally getting to "meet" his parents. When he needed them most, despite the fact that they were dead, his parents transcended the grave for him, and were there for him. In addition, the loss of Cedric was a shock, and also very moving; specifically the idea of Cedric's last request being that his body be taken back to his parents.
The whole series is obviously (at least partially) centered around loss. Harry lost his parents at a young age, and this event has helped to shape who he has become, and how he sees the world around him. Meanwhile, the villain, Voldemort, has lost his power. The series also follows him as he tries to regain what he has lost.
Please note that these are my opinions
One of my least favorite methods of pushing the story forward is having the villain tell the protagonist their entire plan (or give a monologue) before killing them. I always wonder "What is the point? They are going to be dead in like 30 seconds in your mind." Both Voldemort, and Barty Crouch Jr. do that in this book. I partially understood why Voldemort did it. It was because he was talking to his followers about what had happened, but I can't help but wonder "You want this kid dead. Why not just do it, and then talk to your followers?" Harry is the only reason that Voldemort lost power, and he is the only thing that stands between Voldemort and regaining power. You would think that Voldemort would kill him right away.
With Barty Crouch Jr. I really did not understand the monologue. He reveals himself to be a death eater, and gives people time to realize that Harry is missing. If he wants to please Voldemort, why doesn't he just kill Harry immediately and escape? Taking a ton of time to tell Harry all of this stuff is just asking to be caught.
Often, I find that writers use these monologues as a device to help the hero escape, and I can't help but think it is partially lazy writing.
Contrast in Character Development
I noticed with both Ron and Hermione that there seems to be contrast in their morals.
With Ron, his family hates Rita Skeeter because she is always making stuff up about his dad at the ministry of magic, but he believes the articles about Harry. I also didn't understand why Harry winning the first task helped Ron to understand that Harry hadn't cheated to get in the tournament. It seemed to me that Ron was just being a fair-weather friend.
With Hermione, she spends the entire book advocating that House Elves should be treated with decency by humans, and that creatures should have the same rights given to people. She then proceeds to lock Rita Skeeter in a jar, and blackmail her into silence (I wonder if this tactic is similar to the Hive developers' tactic with the blacklist and rigged appeal process). This is especially confusing when you consider how mature she had been with the Slytherins earlier in the book.
Those are the only criticisms I can come up with.
Thanks for reading this! If you have any thoughts, I would love to see them in the comments! Also feel free to comment your own opinions on Goblet of Fire! Have a nice day!