Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Harry Potter Books

Published: 2000
Author: J.K. Rowling

The threat becomes real….


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in the series about the boy wizard and is, in many ways, markedly different to the previous three novels.  The first thing you notice is that it is significantly bigger than its predecessors.  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is 317 pages long whereas Goblet of Fire weighs in at a chunky 636 pages, slightly more than double the length.  JK Rowling obviously knows and trusts her young audience, she knows that Harry Potter fans have the stamina and determination to get through such a big read.

Goblet of Fire breaks with Harry Potter tradition by opening not at the Dursleys house, but with Voldemort and his faithful servant Wormtail together again and plotting an act of great evil.  In chapter one Rowling establishes the danger that Harry will face, Voldemort is no longer a theoretical or historical threat.  He is now very real, dangerous and present in Harry’s life.

Of course we do return to Little Whinging where Harry is still living with the Dursleys, but not for long as the Quidditch World Cup final is taking place and Harry and Hermione are staying with the Weasleys for a significant time during the summer.  The excitement of the World Cup is fabulous, for the first time the wizarding world becomes just that – a complete world and not just the small part of it that Harry inhabits.  While we have always seen beyond Hogwarts this is a much more in-depth look than before, and we start to think about the impact that Voldemort’s actions must have had.  This is emphasised when the campground where spectators at the World Cup are staying is attacked by Death Eaters (followers of Lord Voldemort) and panic ensues.

The main story concerns the Tri-Wizard Tournament,  a dangerous inter-school competition which sees Harry once again thrust unwillingly into the spotlight facing numerous dangers including a particularly vicious Hungarian Horntail dragon.  The action sequences are brilliant and convey superbly the excitement and danger of the tasks that Harry and his fellow competitors are facing.

Our heroes are becoming more mature and they are starting to development the normal teenage range of emotions, from Ron’s jealousy of Harry’s success to Harry’s crush on the pretty Cho Chang and Hermione’s dalliance with the moody Viktor Krum, one of Harry’s opponents in the Tri-Wizard Tournament and star of the Quidditch World Cup.  This is a great move by Rowling, she has created a world that manages to be both unimaginable and completely true by infusing the characters with the same feelings that the readers are having.  Harry, Ron and Hermione are never anything less than perfectly believable, which in turn makes everything they face believable and threatening.

Talking of unbelievable – one of the sub-plots of Goblet of Fire involves a sleazy journalist who uses subterfuge and illegal methods to gain information about Harry and his friends.  Clearly this is one of the fantasy elements of the novel!  I do wonder how much of Rita Skeeter and her poisonous articles has been based on JK Rowling’s relationship with the press and rumours that she quashes on her website, including those that she defines as “Toxic – hurtful and cause real damage”.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is my favourite book of the series.  It has everything – excitement, comedy, action, romance, danger and thrills.  More than that, it marks the beginning (appropriately enough the name of the final chapter) of a new period in the wizarding world.  One which, having finished Goblet of Fire, I am always desperate to move on to.

Previous and next posts in this series:<< Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix >>
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