*This post will contain Harry Potter spoilers. If you have not read Harry Potter and do not want to be spoiled, please refrain from reading on.*
The time has come for me to revisit my most beloved of stories, the Harry Potter series. See my musings on books one through three here. In this installment, I will discuss Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a book that I have read so many times my copy’s spine is in a very fragile and delicate condition.
Goblet of Fire is where shit starts to get real. By the end of the book, the darkness that pervades the rest of the series is readily established. It’s foreshadowed in the beginning of the book: First off, we get the disturbing story of the Riddles’ strange murder and we see Frank Bryce killed by Voldemort. Something I noticed this time that I hadn’t before was that Voldemort says to Wormtail, “I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform.” IS THAT A JOKE LADIES AND GENTLEMAN? Given the fact that Wormtail literally cuts off his hand to restore Voldemort to his body, I can come to no other conclusion that Voldemort is making a twisted funny. Next, the Quidditch World Cup is overshadowed by the disgusting display of muggle torture at the hands of the Death Eaters and the appearance of the Dark Mark. The fear their actions inspires among the other wizards is very real. Finally, Harry’s name pops out of the Goblet of Fire. The sense of unease stays with you as more unsettling details are revealed right up to the end.
Everything at Hogwarts before the first task of the Triwizard Tournament is MISERABLE. I can’t stand Ron being mad at Harry. I see where he’s coming from. Yes, it’s tough having a BFF who is literally the most famous wizard of your time but C’MON! Harry would obviously prefer to have his parents alive and just be an ordinary boy. Plus Ron should know better. Harry never leaves Ron out of anything. If he is adventuring, Ron is by his side. Though this little rift does allow some pretty sweet Harry-Hermione friendship bonding time. She is really kind to him when Ron is being a prat. Also, her response of bursting into tears, shouting, “You two are so stupid!” and then running off is literally everything to me. Boys and their feelings, am I right?
Though everything about the series isn’t all doom and gloom. Sirius is a gem of loveliness. I just want to hug him. He cares SO MUCH. His concern and dedication to Harry is so endearing. I love you Sirius. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. WHY MUST YOU LEAVE ME? (Man, the next book is going to be SO hard to read.) The romantic tension between Ron and Hermione is also a barrel of laughs, particularly in regards to the Yule Ball. GET IT TOGETHER RON. Krum is a pretty all right guy. I can see what Hermione sees in him. He’s older and from an interesting foreign country. He actually shows legitimate interest in her and seems to prize her mind (all that library time). And yet the heart wants what it wants, namely, a gangling ginger with an attitude problem. Jk, Ron. I still love you.
The pensieve, which is essential in the sixth book, is introduced here. We find out more about the Death Eaters and those put away in Azkaban, namely, the Lestranges, as well as the horrifying exent to which they would go for Voldemort: the torture, the murder, the death. We find out about the Longbottom’s terrible fate. I wonder if Jo knew when she put in that detail about the prophecy or just how crucial Neville would be to victory in the end. The woman is a damned genius. The fourth book also allows a glimpse of the fear within the wizarding community when Voldemort was at his height of power. It’s a taste of what is to come after his return.
The second task was so stressful and eerie. I forgot how unsettling the merpeople and the ghostly floating bodies of the hostages were. Also, I want to mention how lame it is that the fourth film leaves out all the super cool stuff inside the maze for the third task. The sphinx is one of my favorite parts of the three tasks. I love the description, the riddle, and the fact that Harry is able to figure it out.
I found Voldemort’s revival ceremony incredibly unsettling, much more so than I remembered. The tone is just creepy as all hell. Harry thinks he’s won the Triwizard Tournament and suddenly Cedric Diggory is dead and Harry’s being bound to Tom Riddle’s grave. Cedric’s death is pretty awful. Harry was just trying to do the right thing, taking the cup together, tying for first place. What would have happened if Cedric alone had gotten the cup? Or if Harry grabbed it by himself? Cedric may have lived. But his death is crucial. It signifies the death of goodness and innocence. Cedric is Voldemort’s first new victim in what are many deaths to follow. Each step of the revival spell is painfully visceral and bloody. I think the worst part is Wormtail cutting off his own hand. Harry’s pain and horror at the proceedings is almost overwhelming. I know what happens and still I feared for him.
But, a lot of important information gets revealed in this scene. Voldemort say to his followers, “You know my goal — to conquer death.” This can definitely be seen as the first allusion to the Deathly Hallows. Voldemort also states that Dumbledore set up “ancient magic to ensure the boy’s protection as long as he is in his relation’s care. Not even I can touch him there,” explaining why Harry has to keep going back to the Dursleys. Though I don’t think Harry realizes that. It is brought up again when Mrs. Weasley says “Dumbledore has his reasons” for not letting Harry go straight to the Burrow that summer. The biggest item is probably the priori incantatem between Harry and Voldemort’s wands. I was definitely sobbing while the spells reversed and when Cedric, Frank, Bertha, and, finally (*sob*), Lily and James come out of the wand. Harry just goes through so much. The poor, poor kid. And he’s so god damn noble and courageous the whole while. This is why I love him. He is so brave in the face of darkness and adversity.
Dumbledore’s fury and power when he confronts Barty Crouch Jr. is awesome. I like when he’s a badass wizard. I really love the detail with Snape, McGonagall, and Dumbeldore leering in Moody’s Foe Glass. I wonder what Snape is thinking just then. As much as he hates Harry and his father, he’s still compelled to protect him. The struggle within him is fascinating.
Barty Crouch Jr. impersonating Mad-Eye Moody does trouble me. I suppose when you’re really committed, you can pull the wool over the eyes of the greatest wizard of all time. Though, from what you see in the pensieve, his acting chops are solid: his fear in the face of being thrown back to the dementors may have been real, but he was guilty as eff and made it seem as if he were an innocent in the wrong place at the wrong time. I suppose interviewing Moody and drinking a ton of polyjuice potion was nothing compared to being imprisoned in his father’s house.
I appreciated that Dumbledore wanted Harry to understand what happened with Barty Crouch Jr., but he really puts him through a lot. “You have shown bravery beyond anything I could have expected of you,” says Dumbledore. “I ask you to demonstrate your courage one more time.” I understand why he makes him recount everything that happens but it’s tough. Harry’s sense of unreality and numbness comes through very clearly.
Finally, there is my anger at Cornelius Fudge. What a fucking idiot. Seriously. How could you not LISTEN to Dumbledore. He is an expert in these matters. Why would he lie? Why would you deny him and Harry just so you can live in denial? This is my entire problem with the fifth book. Everyone’s doubt is just too much to take. As Dumbledore says, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” This division is exactly what Voldemort wants and exactly what Fudge gives him. His idiocy is so frustrating
I also thought Malfoy’s initial reaction to Voldemort’s return is intriguing. Obviously, he knows his father and his family are in league with Voldemort, but when he confronts Harry on the Hogwarts Express and denounces him for being on the “losing side” he has no idea how much Voldemort’s orders and bidding are going to cost him and his family. It’s kind of sad, actually, to think about.
On a happier note, one of my other favorite things about this book is Hermione’s revenge on Rita Skeeter. Her little beetle self buzzing angrily in that jar is just excellent. SUCK IT RITA. YOU ARE THE WORST. It’s a bright light among the heavy sadness of the book’s end. The other nice moment at the end is Harry giving the Triwizard gold to Fred and George. He does them a good turn.
Holy moly, this is a long post. If you haven’t noticed, I have a lot of feelings about Harry Potter. I’m also so psyched I am rereading the books now, considering the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is going to be released as a book this summer! No matter what J. K. Rowling says, I’m feeling a lot like I’m getting my book eight. I could weep for joy. It still doesn’t feel real. I never thought I’d get to experience Cursed Child since a trip to London just to see the play is a little out of the question right now. I am thrilled to be able to read the script.
Stay with me friends. Only three more books to reread.
Until next time!