Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Having seen all of the Harry Potter movies but never read the books, I set out this year to accomplish just that feat. Of course, time constraints and other things prevented me from getting to book four in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, until now. Just one look at this book and I knew I was in for a ride. Thanks to the film, I already knew that there would be plenty of action, but when I saw the size of the novel - 734 pages, I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?!”
Just before his fourth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry begins, Harry Potter gets a big surprise. Ron Weasley’s father has scored prized tickets to the Quidditch World Cup Tournament. Harry is excited to go and the night of the Quidditch match is everything he thought it would be and more, except for one thing - the Death Eaters have come to play. Wearing masks to hide who they really are, the followers of Voldemort attack the revelers, specifically going after Muggles and anyone who isn’t of pure wizarding blood. Pandemonium ensues until the Dark Mark appears overhead, a mark that hasn’t been seen since Voldemort was at a high point in his evil reign. But who made the Dark Mark appear?
If that wasn’t enough of a worrisome event for Harry, things are about to get a bit more interesting. In an attempt to unite the various schools of wizardry, the Ministry of Magic has decided to re-instate the Triwizard Tournament. The tournament is supposed to take place between the champions of three schools. Each would-be champion enters by placing their name in the Goblet of Fire and the goblet selects the three competitors magically. However, something has gone horribly wrong and this time, the goblet selects a fourth champion to compete - Harry. How did Harry’s name get in the Goblet of Fire? If someone else put it there, then why? And why is it that Harry’s scar has been bothering him more and more lately, especially now that he is competing in the Triwizard Tournament?
Despite the daunting size of the 734-page novel, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was actually quite a fast read. There was plenty of action and intrigue to be had in the novel between the incident at the World Cup and the three trials Harry found himself facing in the Triwizard Tournament. We met quite a few characters in this novel, including the former Auror Alastor Moody, a mysterious and extremely paranoid individual with numerous scars, a peg leg and an all-seeing eye. We learned quite a bit more about the already existing characters, such as the secret behind Hagrid’s parentage.
Romance finally finds its way into the pages of Harry Potter and hook-ups abound. Our hero finds himself crushing on a fellow Triwizard competitor’s girlfriend. Meanwhile, sparks flare as Hermione hits it off with antoher Triwizard competitor, much to Ron’s chagrin. Even Hagrid finds himself in a state of romance and enchantment. Love is in the air and not even the strange disappearances in the wizarding community can dampen its touch.
Besides being fast-paced and full of action, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire opens the doors for the darkness to come. It is here that our first hero falls. It is this novel when we experience the death of one of Harry’s friends. And it is here where Voldemort finds the strength to rise again with the assistance of two Death Eaters thought long dead.
Having seen the movie and now read the book, I realize that this particular movie was not as faithful to the novels as some of the other films. A great many important events, revelations and characters have been left out of the film in the interest of time. I found that, although the film was very good, leaving these things out takes something away from the series. There are times when the movie is better than the novel, but in this case, the original novel is much better than the film.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the turning point in the Harry Potter series. There is no going back now. Voldemort is on the rise and ready to take on the world again. The rest of the novels will be about how to stop his rise to power and eventually rid the world of his evilness. I can’t wait to read them all!