23 July 2018

Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Series: Harry Potter, #4
# of Pages: 734
Publication: September 28th, 2002
Source: Library E-Audiobook
Genre: Fantasy
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Harry Potter is midway through his 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. 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. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.



I never would imagine the day in which I would actually sit down and write a review for a Harry Potter. They’ve always naturally been five star reads for me but I’ve never taken into consideration the specific factors and aspects of the stories that make them so good. For me, The Goblet of Fire is probably one of my favorite books in the series. This is one of the most pivotal books in which Harry leaves behind the minor altercations with half-dead versions of Voldemort and actually had to deal with the realization that Voldemort has successfully obtained a body and is ready to continue to wage his war against the wizarding world. I’m going to divide this review into several different sections including world-building, plot, characters, and my personal feelings about re-reading this book in audio format.

World Building

I believe that this installment is probably one of my favorites in the entire series because of the fact that the world building is so extensive. The reader gets the opportunity to spend a great deal of time outside the confines of Hogwarts and inside the general aspects of the wizarding world. It’s in this book that we are introduced to the Quidditch World Cup which has so many various components and new things to learn about the sport. I really think that the movie missed out on being able to shoot the Quidditch World Cup in its entirety. There are scenes that introduced new magical creatures such as veela, and even major characters such as Winky and Ludo Bagman. I think it was also amazing that in this book Rowling introduces us to the idea that there are people who are witches and wizards from all of the world. At the Quidditch World Cup, Harry Potter describes his experience in seeing witches and wizards from different countries and schools including witches from a school in Salem (this made me squeal the very first time I read the book). Then there is the introduction to other schools through the Tri-Wizard tournament. Those students are from Beaubaxtons and Durmstrang. It still blows my mind that all of these schools exist but because of magical spells other witches and wizards can’t determine their exact locations. By including all of these elements, Rowling effectively expands what we would have considered as boundaries in this world.

Plot

The plot for this book is super intense. When I say intense I mean insanely intense. This is the point in which the books become longer and more complex. The Goblet of Fire checks in at over 700 pages itself. The most rewarding aspects of the plot of this book are definitely found in understanding the connection between Harry and Voldemort. Having read the books multiple times, I noticed that this is the book where that connection sets the scene for what must happen in the final book and the explanation as to why Harry and Voldemort can see into each other’s thoughts and dreams. Knowing how the series ends and being able to make that connection is crazy and fun at the same time. Another interesting aspect of the plot of this book is the discussion of how magical creatures and wizards and witches are treated in terms of their social standing. We see the Weasley’s get looked down upon because of the lack money that they have and we also begin to see how severely magical creatures are neglected and treated inappropriately by their human counterparts. This is especially apparent with Winky the house elf who becomes the catalyst for the issues that occur later in the book. Hermione also begins her campaign to assist in making witches and wizards understand the importance of forming bonds with magical creatures. This will play a huge role in the seventh and final book. Of course the most pivotal moments are through Harry’s entry into the Triwizard Tournament, the tournaments challenges themselves, and the rise of Lord Voldemort.

If I was forced to rank the tournament challenges into least favorite to most favorite I would say that it would be the maze, the interactions with dragons, and then the underwater challenge. If you’ve based your memory of the tournaments off the movie, take some time and realize that the tournaments actually have a lot more complexity to them. They just were not able to capture every single detail on film. With the introduction to the tournament, I found that I, as a reader, was exposed to more complicated spells and aspects of the world. Prior to this book, I don’t think we realize or have the opportunity to realize how complicated magic can be. What I liked most about the tournaments is that they humanize Harry. Yes, we all know that he’s this fascinating and amazing character that defeats Voldemort when it’s all said and done; however, watching him struggle and realize that he’s truly not old enough to be in the tournament really does bring the hero complex down several notches. I think sometimes in reading these books we forget that Harry is just a teenager at this point, a mere 14. The tasks that are presented before him challenge him way beyond what should be expected for his age group.

The last area of the plot that changes the entire dynamic of the entire series is the rise of Voldemort. I always tell individuals that Voldemort’s resurrection isn’t just a minor thing that happens at the end of the book. It sets the series on a different course. The books become much darker and more complex. With the death of Cedric Diggory we begin to become exposed to a death in every single following book. This book is the shifter, the point at which everything changes. It’s no surprise that Rowling would use this book as such a strong catalyst considering it is the middle book of the entire series.

Characters

I think I could write for days about the complexity of the characters and character relationships in this book. There are so many people who play major roles in this book, many who go missing in the film adaptation (this includes a prolonged presence of Sirius, Winky, a prolonged presence of Crouch, and Ludo Bagman). I’ll start with the relationships between Harry, Ron, and Hermione. While the three were just friends in the past three books we see that dynamic change between Rom and Hermione. They begin to become jealous of each other and who they’ve decided to date. This is particularly evident in Ron distaste in Hermione’s dating Victor Krum. Ron and Harry also run into some issues as the reader is exposed to finding out and understanding what it’s really like to be Harry Potter’s best friend. It feels like living in a shadow which is extremely unfortunate. I also believe that this is where we see Harry, Ron, and Hermione go through character growth. They are maturing and having to go through the stages of figuring out who they want to be.

Overall Thought/Audiobook

I’m currently listening to all the Harry Potter books and it’s been a great experience. I think that Jim Dale has the most brilliant voice for all the characters and really brings the world alive. It’s such a different journey than reading the physical books. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check them out then definitely do that. As I have stated before, this is my favorite book in the series and I think that it holds such an importance place in the overall grand scheme of things. I’ll definitely have to go back and do a full review of the first three books in the series.


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