This is part of my series of the reviews of all 7 books in “Harry Potter” series.
If you were ever a Harry-Hermione shipper, then “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (the book) would probably be the cannonball striking your ship (and HBP would be the rushing sound of water in hold). But then, if Prisoner of Azkaban shifted the series to a serious mood, Goblet of Fire marked the start of dark times.
Having dreamed of Lord Voldemort and his servent Wormtail plotting to kill himself, Harry tries to forget that with a trip to Quiddich World Cup with Weasleys. Unfortunately, even though the final is superb, the post-match celebrations turn nasty when Death Eaters (followers of Lord Voldemort) turn up, and somebody shoots the mark of Voldemort in the sky, adding to the panic.
Back in Hogwarts, the normal school year is to be disturbed, as the Triwizard Tournament is to be reinstated. The tournament consists of three champions, each from three of the most prestigious wizarding schools in Europe, competing in three difficult (and sometimes deadly) tasks to earn the trophy.
Although only wiards past age 17 are allowed in the tournament, Harry’s name turns up from the Goblet of Fire as a champion, after all three champions are named. So, with his schoolmate Cedric Diggory, Harry competes in the three deadly tasks to win the glittering trophy (and the face of Cho Chang stands up in the cheering crowd in his dreams) against the other champions.
Of course, there’s an unexpected task when Harry gets first taste of girls, when he has to ask a girl for Yule Ball on christmas, and he cannot get the girl he wants. The new DADA teacher, Prof. Moody is mysterious and perhaps the best one they ever had as he was a celebrated Auror (dark wizard hunter), but like all DADA teachers, he is hiding a potentially deadly secret. And so, finally Harry faces a fully-corporeal Voldemort, and with help from some unexpected quarters, escapes the duel to bring back the news of Lord Voldemort’s return to Prof. Dumbledore.
Though the main storyline is Harry overcoming the challenges with the help of his friends, and showing courage (and stupidity/moral fiber) in the process, there are many important subplots which mark this book.
Though Ron stands with Harry in all his exploits till date, when Harry’s name comes out of Goblet of Fire, he also does not believe Harry (along with most of the school) that Harry did not enter his name. This “glory-seeking” ways of Harry cause a rift between them, as Ron finds it one time too many being overshadowed by his best friend (along with all his older brothers). But seeing Harry almost getting gored in first task changes his mind, and from then on he helps Harry as before.
The times continue to be bad for Ron, as Hermione’s choice for Yule Ball (and his almost failure to get one) makes him not a little jealous. Though the aftermath of second task gives him the spot in spotlight he wanted, he is not exactly happy camper in the book.
Also underlying the main theme is the S.P.E.W. Though we have seen house-elfs earlier in series (Dobby in Chamber of Secrets), when Hermione learns about their plight, of being slaves, she takes upon herself to deliver them, and is oblivious to the fact that most of house-elfs are happy in servitude, and hence her efforts are bound to fail.
Then there is Prof. Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody, the new DADA teacher, ex-Auror extraordinaire, and Dumbledore’s old friend. He continues Harry’s education about the night Lord Voldemort tries to kill him. Harry now knows that his parents fell to a killing curse, one of the Unforgivable Curses. He helps Harry directly or indirectly through all the tasks, and sets him up for final confrontation.
We also see the Pensieve for the first time. A magical bowl for storing memories, the pensieve plays an important part in all books after this, taking Harry on trips “down (literally) the memory lane”, providing him with (sometimes unwanted) knowledge.
The connection between Harry and Lord Voldemort strengthens as Harry starts getting peeks in Voldemort’s head. But there is an obnoxious reporter Rita Skeeter (with her quick quotes quill) out to get all the dirt in the school.
Harry’s first crush, Ron’s jealousy, and everybody finding out that Hermione is a “girl”, Hagrid finding love… oh yes, the book also is starting point for Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, the magical prank products by Fred and George. The venture is finally funded by Harry, though I don’t believe they using a ton-tongue toffee on Dudley (which causes his tongue to be many feet long before being cured) influences his decision.
Quote of The Day:
Anyone can speak Troll. All you have to do is point and grunt.
– Fread Weasley