Welcome to Comfort Reads: where I talk about re-reads and what I’ve learned on second (or twelfth) encounters.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
some facts & opinions
- publication year: 2000
- movie release date: 2005
- age of my first encounter: 10
- favorite moment left out of the film series: Dudley and the Ton-Tongue Toffee. (This was a hard one. So much wrong with the 4th movie. So much.) I hate that the Dursleys were left out of the entire 4th movie, especially the moment when Fred and George get revenge on Dudley for all the years he tortured Harry, feeding him a piece of toffee that causes Dudley’s tongue to grow until it’s several feet long. Not only is this a hilarious moment, but it also builds on all the other hilarious, smart stuff the twins do over the next couple books.
- favorite magical object/creature introduced: Dumbledore’s Pensieve. Literally, all I have ever wanted is a way to siphon off unwanted thoughts/memories. I’m convinced this would be a great way to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. Someone invent one, now.
- best supporting character: Cedric Diggory. While I was annoyed with him like everyone else the first time I read it, Dumbledore’s speech at the end gets me every time. Cedric was legitimately a decent person and I think often people like him get overlooked because they’re not flashy or brave.
- best professor appearance: Mad-Eye Moody/Barty Crouch Jr. This might seem like an odd choice, considering we find out that Crouch Jr. is masquerading as Moody the whole time. Granted, his methods were a little off and he’s definitely a little on the crazy side of things, but I enjoyed the way he taught the kids the Unforgivable Curses against the Ministry’s wishes. Also, I’m sorry, anyone who turns Malfoy into a ferret and bounces him around is okay in my book.
- best Dumbledore quote: “…it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”
In the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling really comes into her writing power. You see glimpses in the third book, but the fourth book really shows her attention to detail and the development of the characters, especially Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
As anyone who has ever been 14 knows, life gets really weird around this age. I remember feeling completely alienated from adults in my life, who still treated me like a child and hid things from me, while also being quite angry toward my peers for, well, acting like children. One of the best aspects to Goblet of Fire for me as a young person and as an adult is the way Rowling weaves teen angst into nearly everything.
Harry and Ron’s big fight is a great example of this. It’s the first time we see Ron as separate from Harry whatsoever; in the first three books, they’re seemingly inseparable and never really disagree about anything. In fact, had Ron and Harry not fought at all, I wouldn’t have believed it. Ron’s frustration at being best friends with the kid who gets all the attention is absolutely human—and especially teenager-y. We can’t blame him, but we also feel Harry’s pain at not being able to turn to his best friend. Enter Hermione, who seriously saves the day both magically and emotionally. Sure, she’s not Ron, but you know that Harry is grateful for her friendship, her loyalty, and her determination to make sure he makes it through the Triwizard Tournament alive.
I love the development of Harry’s crush on Cho. Although left out of the third film, the book shows them playing Quidditch together and hints that Harry finds her attractive. In Book 4, we first see Harry’s insecurity when it comes to romantic relationships. In a move I’ve repeated throughout my life, he panics and doesn’t ask the girl out until she’s already dating someone else. While I don’t particularly care for Cho’s character, reading Harry’s bumbling attempts to connect with her really gave me life as an adolescent.
Once again, the danger in this book is not who you think it is. This time, the danger is hiding in plain sight, disguised as Professor Moody. I gotta say, I really enjoy Barty Crouch Jr.’s character more and more as I keep reading it. I picture him growing up with Crouch Sr as a father, and how miserable that must’ve been. With a rule-obsessed father, Barty must’ve yearned to have more control over his life—no wonder he joined up with Voldemort! I also can’t imagine having to hide in your own house for almost 13 years, completely controlled under the Imperius Curse.
I love the addition of other schools of magic in this storyline, and the way both Karkaroff and Madame Maxime shed light on Dumbledore’s teaching style. While the former are eager to do whatever they can to help their champions win the tournament, Dumbledore not only plays by the rules, but seems to want his students to figure out the solutions on their own. While Karkaroff and Maxime think he’s a fool, it just shows how much Dumbledore believes in Cedric and Harry. He always seems to believe Harry capable of things even Harry doesn’t think he can handle. Ultimately, I think I’d rather have a mentor who believes in me than one who just wants me to win. Dumbledore knows life isn’t just about winning competitions, but it’s about how you get where you’re going.
I know I’ve left out a lot, so what are your favorite parts of The Goblet of Fire? Let me know in the comments below.