Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter Book 4 of 7)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

I’m now past the half-way point in this series book-wise. Page-wise I’m not quite there yet, because books four through seven are much longer than books one through three. This was the first longer book at about 734 pages, and I enjoyed the meatier length. I’m really enjoying this series in general and I’m glad I finally got around to starting it.

 

This was an important book for me. Why? Because I finally learned that I’d been pronouncing Hermione wrong this whole time. Ron attempts to say her name with his mouth full, and the syllables that came out of his mouth did not jive at all with the syllables I thought her name contained. I was pronouncing it “her me own” but it’s really “her my oh knee”. Not long after that, I finally gave into the temptation I’ve been fighting and watched the first movie to make sure the rest of my pronunciations were ok. I plan to finish the series before watching any of the other movies, though. Later on in the book Hermione actually explains to somebody how to pronounce her name, but I’d long since had it sorted out by then.

 

I enjoyed this book a lot, but I did think there were some slow parts here and there – not too many, but a few. The over-all story was interesting and I thought it got quite twisty near the end. I had been pretty confident I knew what was what, but the author managed to surprise me again. I’m definitely interested in seeing what happens in the next book given the way things ended up in this book.

 

Here are a few more comments that contain spoilers:

 

Early on in the book when the characters are talking about how Bertha Jorkins is missing, and Bagman says they can’t spare anybody to look for her, I kept wondering why nobody at least tried to send her an owl. We’re told that the owls can find people anywhere, and that’s proven based on the way Harry was able to send Sirius owls even when nobody knew where he was. So the owl presumably would have failed to find Bertha and when it came back with the original message still attached then surely there would have been more alarm and a more serious effort to find her. But I don’t know if the owl would have just known she wasn’t alive anymore and returned quickly, or if the owl would have searched the whole world for her in which case it probably would have taken so long as to not make a difference to the story anyway.

 

Actually, the more I think about it, the more I wonder why owls weren’t used to track down bad guys if they’re so good at finding people. They could have a tracking device attached to them and then be sent to take a “letter” to somebody. Maybe they could have found Voldemort this way before he grew strong enough to hurt people again. I guess we can imagine that the bad guys are using some sort of enchantment to block themselves from “owl radar” to prevent something like that from happening...

 

I also wondered why apparently nobody hung out at the Quidditch field to study the hedges before they had finished growing and memorize the path through the maze. All of the champions met on the field to learn about the third task, so they all had access to it, they all knew what it was for, and at that point the hedges were still short enough that people could step over them. Maybe access was restricted to the field after the announcement, and perhaps it was too big to solve and memorize during the short time they had access to it. It’s also possible that parts of the maze were covered during the announcement, although I didn’t get that impression from the way the scene was described. I guess there are plenty of explanations I can come up with as the reader, but I would have liked something along those lines to be mentioned by the author.

 

I was pretty convinced for most of the book that Bagman was our bad-guy-in-hiding who had put Harry’s name in the goblet. Mainly because of the way he dragged his feet in looking for Bertha, and also because of the way he kept trying to help Harry in the tournament. I didn’t guess that the goal was for Harry to win because at that point I didn’t know there would be a cup for him to get at the end of the third trial, much less that the cup would prove to be a Portkey, but I thought maybe Bagman intended to lead Harry astray with his advice in a way that would get him killed. Once I found out about the Portkey, Bagman as the bad guy seemed to make even more sense.

 

I think I was as surprised as Harry when the bad-guy-in-hiding turned out to be Moody, who wasn’t really Moody at all and never had been during his acquaintance with Harry. I completely didn’t see that one coming. I really enjoyed the twist with Crouch’s son and the whole story that came out when Dumbledore gave him the truth serum which shed new light on various things we had seen throughout the book.  

 

I was also really surprised when Cedric died. I think that’s the first time any of the good guys had died in these stories. I felt bad about the way he died given the way he and Harry had worked together a little bit, however unwillingly, during the tournament. Ironically, Cedric’s nobility in refusing to take the cup on his own even though he was closest to it, is in large part the cause for all the bad things that happened near the end. If Cedric had just taken the cup himself he still probably would have died, but Harry would have remained safe at Hogwarts and couldn’t have been used in Voldemort’s spell. Perhaps investigations would also have led people to discover that Moody wasn’t really Moody. It should have been pretty suspicious to begin with that he was the one who took the cup into the maze once it was discovered the cup was a Portkey. I guess Crouch Jr. probably would have fled to his master when the plan failed, so he probably wouldn’t have been caught unless the grounds were immediately sealed to prevent anybody from leaving.

 

Oops… when I sat down to write this review I didn’t think I had all that much to say about this book, but somehow I ended up writing a lot anyway!

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