Saturday, June 18, 2016

Harry Potter Reread: Goblet of Fire

 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Potter fever is ramping up this year thanks to two exciting new projects: the eighth story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be debuting in London's West End on July 30 and the first in a new movie trilogy, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will hit theaters in November. In preparation, I decided to revisit my most beloved series and blog about it. (Besides, I don't really need an excuse to reread Harry Potter.)

Origin Story

I remember my experience with Goblet of Fire really well because it is the only book in the series that I stood in line for. I think after the third book was released that the mania surrounding Harry Potter really started to take off. It was everywhere. 

I preordered the book at my local bookstore (back before the whole concept of preordering books was still foreign to me.) On the day of release, my mom and I got to the bookstore about five minutes before it opened. There was a small roped-off area in front of the store where there was a line starting to form already. I think we were the second or third ones in line. A couple of minutes before the store opened, one of the staff members came out and went down the line, asking for our names and making sure we were listed as having a copy reserved. I remember being nervous about my name somehow being omitted from the list and not getting my long-awaited copy. But of course, my name was on there, and when the store opened the friendly woman behind the counter handed me my very own copy of Goblet of Fire.

'God, it's huge!' That was my first reaction. I wasn't daunted though. When it comes to books, the bigger, the better in my opinion. And I absolutely loved the picture of the dragon on the cover.

I started reading it in the car on the way home. It didn't take me too long to finish it, a few days, maybe a week. And, of course, I loved it. 

Things I Noticed This Time Around

-At the beginning of the book, Wormtail seems reluctant to go after Harry and tries to persuade Voldemort to use another wizard. I believe this is because Harry spared Wormtail's life in PoA and so he feels he is in Harry's debt

-There are so many hints that Mad-Eye Moody is really Barty Crouch Jr. but J.K. Rowling is so clever at hiding it and planting so many other red herrings along the way that I don't think anyone could have guessed the ending when they first read it. However, if you reread it, you notice so many different clues. Here are a few:
  • p.182-when Moody says Snape is 'another old friend' when he is disciplining Malfoy, he's really speaking as a former Death Eater and not as an ex-Auror
  • p.228-Moody is looking at Karkaroff with 'intense dislike.' During the first read-through, we think it's because Moody is an ex-Auror and hates Dark wizards. But it's really Barty Crouch looking at him with dislike because Karkaroff turned against Voldemort and his fellow Death Eaters by naming names to try to get out of Azkaban. He sees Karkaroff as a traitor
  • p.414-Moody says 'If there's one thing I hate it's a Death Eater who walked free.' Again, we think it's due to Moody's hatred of Dark wizards, but it's really Barty Crouch Jr. speaking. He sees people like Karkaroff and Snape as traitors to Lord Voldemort

-It is revealed in GoF that Hagrid is half-giant. His father was a wizard and his mother is a giantess. Now, I'm being a little nit-picky here and Hagrid is one of my favorite characters but I just realized something while rereading it - how on earth does a regular size person have sex with a giantess? What exactly are the logistics of that? Obviously, as a novel targeted towards a younger audience, the mechanics are never explained and when I was younger it was something I never wondered about. All I can say is I'm wondering now....
-p.380 -During the Care of Magical Creatures class with Professor Grubbly-Plank she says 'They prefer the woman's touch, unicorns.' All I could think was 'I bet they do, the horny bastards.' HAHAHAHAHAHA (This section could also be titled 'Things You Only Notice About the Harry Potter Books as an Adult)
-p.511 -'You must understand,' said Karkaroff hurriedly, 'that He Who Must Not Be Named operated always in the greatest of secrecy...he preferred that we - I mean to say, his supporters - ...we never knew the names of every one of our fellows  - he alone knew exactly who we all were.' I count this as evidence that Snape did not know that Peter Pettigrew was the Potter's Secret Keeper
-p.565- The missing Death Eaters. 'And here we have six missing Death Eaters...three dead in my service. One, two cowardly to return ...he will pay. One, who I believe has left me for ever...he will be killed of course...and one, who remains my most faithful servant, and who has already re-entered my service.' I'm not sure who the dead Death Eaters are but I've figured out the other three. The coward is Karkaroff. The one who he thinks has left him for ever is Snape. And his most faithful servant is Barty Crouch Jr.

Favorite Parts/Lines

-p.77-the part at the Quidditch World Cup when Harry, Ron, and Hermione encounter Archie, a wizard wearing a long, flowery nightdress. Another wizard is trying to make him wear trousers instead. 'I'm not putting them on,' said old Archie in indignation. 'I like a healthy breeze round my privates, thanks.' Classic Archie. 
-p.178-'''Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavender?' said Ron.'' There are so many dirty jokes in this book!
-Of course I love the part with the dragons. I kind of feel sorry for them though, being used for sport like that. It's kind of cruel. 
-p.628-'Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.' Makes me cry every time.

Concluding Thoughts

Goblet of Fire definitely has a darker feel to it than the previous books in the series. The part where Voldemort rises from the cauldron is definitely nightmare-inducing stuff. I know that there are parents who won't let their children read the Harry Potter books because the books feature things like death and torture and violence - but the books never glamorize these things. If Harry Potter taught me anything, it was how to be a good and kind person in a world that can be cruel and cold. When I reread the Harry Potter books, I am reminded of the kind of person I want to be.  

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