Sunday, 18 July 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Series Spoilers, Beware)




"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." – Albus Dumbledore



The Goblet of Fire has never been my favourite out of the Harry Potter series – in fact it probably comes at the bottom. This book took her one year to write and it resulted on her rebelling against her publishers and took one year to recover and two years to write The Order of the Phoenix. That was a painful three years and when you’re a young teenager as I was, quite a lot can happen in that time, making it feel like even longer.

However, reading it again this time has given me an extra appreciation of it. The beginning I always thought a bit tiresome but I actually really enjoyed it a lot more this time around. In fact – as I am reading the Order of the Phoenix at the moment,I am actually starting to appreciate the Goblet of Fire a lot more. Order of the Phoenix has always been my second favourite, but it’s making me feel as stressed as Harry is. That never used to bother me before now so I did not notice it, but I’m noticing it now.

I must also admit, that despite loving my Harry Potter re-read I’m suffering from TBR guilt. I’m looking at my 414 books and I’m not seeing it going anywhere. I’ve paid off my £5 library fine and realising I need to tackle that pile before I do anything with my own TBR including finishing my Russian non-fiction I haven’t touched since starting Harry Potter. I’m starting to feel a little claustrophobic at the moment and I’m a little annoyed. I wish I could enjoy the book I am reading NOW and stop thinking about those books I haven’t read, or haven’t got even. I am constantly thinking about the books I want to read and haven’t got and worrying about how I’m gonna get them and this that and the other.

I’m sure I never used to have these worries before I found out about social book networks. I just used to read and not worry about the pile – but then again back then it wasn’t in such a desperate state and I didn’t have a very accurate inventory for them.

That’s off topic though, I was talking about Goblet of Fire, not my runaway TBR.

As I was saying, I enjoyed Goblet of Fire a lot more this time around and I am noticing that I am enjoying other things more then I used to as well. Such as, how much I really do love Hagrid. Once,I’d have exchanged him for Hedwig but I am really starting to love his warmth and friendship with Harry and gang and wouldn’t swap him for the world.

I’m also experiencing a rush of sentimentality for just about everything during this re-read. I’d forgotten how lovely Hermoine is, having the movie version more in my mind nowadays then the book. Emma Watson plays her very well but she only shows the bossy know-it-all side and not the compassionate caring side of Hermoine – or the deep inner strength that both Harry and Ron need. Hedwig has never been more adorable, I always took her for granted when I should have admired her more. She was so full of courage and personality.

It feels like I’m meeting friends I haven’t seen in a very long time and we’re catching up on old times, wondering why we left it so long and that we must do this again some time. I wish I didn’t know the ending, because at the same time I feel a leaden sense of sadness, knowing the ending and that they’ll only be there in my imagination or if I start the series all over again. I miss them already.

I still think the whole Triwizard thing is a bit of a bore and a distraction. There seemed to be a lot of nothing much happening between the pages, but what you do see I guess, is them growing up into young adults and all those growing hormones. There’s also the impending darkness that hasn’t quite happened, that you expect right from the beginning that accumulates in Voldemort’s rebirth which I always found a little weird and uneventful.

Cedric’s death was shocking more than upsetting. She left the upsetting death to have full impact in the Order of the Phoenix. Cedric was a student and it happened whilst they were in school. I’m starting to wonder why Dumbledore allowed the Triwizard tournament to happen in Hogwarts, understanding what was brewing outside.  Maybe it was Dumbledore’s way to bring all the others together as one.

Harry could easily have been killed but escaped quite luckily thanks to a wand malfunction that occurs when two wands meet that share the same core. It seemed just a little convenient. Expelliarmus is Harry’s favourite spell and he uses it a little too often. I felt that Rowling got to that end scene, wondered how the heck she was going to get Harry out of this mess. Harry’s strongest spells seem to be defensive rather then offensive – this can be frustrating at times as he only seems to get out of straights through luck or with the help of others. It’s just a little hard to believe he managed to survive through seven books.

I can’t remember my initial reaction to Goblet of Fire, it feels like I read it a lot longer ago then the first three. I think I remember feeling a little bit dissatisfied by it. After the third book I was expecting something a little more, but in fact it acted more as a buffer between the third and fifth book. As I said earlier I did enjoy it more this time around – more for the growing characters then the actual storyline. Hormones started to spurt – the characters are growing upwards as well as outwards as they’re going through puberty. Harry notices Cho for the first time and the friction between Hermoine and Ron starts to grow and become more noticeable.

They also start to think about careers after Hogwarts – another part of growing up. Harry first realises his desire to become an Auror, Hermoine starts SPEW the beginning of her life long campaign against inequality. Fred and George are already realising their dream to start a joke shop. One of the major themes in Goblet of Fire seems to be growing up and looking beyond Hogwarts into their adult lives – realising that there is a bigger, wider world out there.

The death of Cedric and the rebirth of Voldemort will put Harry’s previous adventures and his future in perspective. By the end of the Goblet of Fire Harry Potter has some growing up to do.

It’s taken me a long time to cobble my thoughts about Goblet of Fire together. I’m already some way through Order of the Phoenix and I’m really looking forward to reading Deathly Hallows for only the second time. At the same time I’m finding it difficult reading a series from beginning to end without feeling a bit distracted. My reading habits have changed a lot since I read these last – when I was a much more relaxed reader. However, I don’t think I could ever read this series without reading it as a whole – rather then between other books. It’s just never been done.

Re-reading it has got me thinking that I must do this more often – once every year for the rest of my life sounds reasonable enough to me. Don’t you think?


  1. I have been having the same stress in my harry potter read-a-thon. I also found that I've loved Goblet more with time. It was never at the bottom of my list but now it's pretty much tied with HBP for my favorite.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your reading! My goblet post is here

  2. Once every year for the rest of our lives? Sounds like a plan! I recently re-read the first book when I decided that I would re-read the series at a leisurely pace. I, like yourself, am having a hard time with my TBR pile. So, I think watching the first movie and then starting the 2nd book will probably happen the next rainy day I get.

  3. I definitly think reading it every year is a good plan! I have been succesfull in the last 3 years :)

  4. I do read Harry Potter once a year--don't know if I'll do it for the rest of my life, but every summer, like clockwork, I get a desperate longing to reread the whole series.

    The fourth book has gone down in my estimation with successive rereadings, unfortunately. There are some really good bits, but the overall plot, not so much. Luckily it's surrounded by the third and fifth, both of which I adore.



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