Monday, July 15, 2013

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Book: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Description: Harry Potter is midway through both his training as a wizard and his coming-of-age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the Quidditch World Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But, unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal--even by Wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly. (book flap)

My Thoughts: Goblet of Fire is another solid Harry Potter book! I'll admit that it's never been one of my favorites, but I thoroughly enjoyed it on this last reread. Harry and his friends develop during the book, the adventures they have are gripping and well-written, and the mystery of the book (what is behind all the strange, ominous happenings both at Hogwarts and in the outside world) is nicely tangled and confusing until the final reveals.

Goblet of Fire continues the trend of Prisoner of Azkaban of bringing Harry and Hogwarts more into contact with the outside wizarding world. Harry goes to the Quidditch World Cup, where he sees wizards from all over the world, and because of the Triwizard Tournament (that would be "the mysterious event" from the book flap) there are many Ministry and foreign wizards at Hogwarts. Harry also begins to find out more about the past of the wizarding world in general and what it was like when Voldemort was still in power.

The conclusion of the Triwizard Tournament was what truly gripped me during this read. It was so suspenseful and well-written--the evil of the whole situation was just dripping off the page--, and fast-paced in a way that felt truly realistic. Harry's reaction after everything had been resolved felt so perfect to me--he seemed shocked, exhausted, horrified, and so much else all at the same time.

The conclusion to the whole book also highlighted a lot of the Christian messages for me. It was very poignant (I almost cried) and very much about doing the right thing despite the costs (which were much worse this book). Dumbledore is fighting for the truth whatever the cost, and trying to encourage his students to do the same. Again, Rowling is not sugar-coating the costs of doing the right thing in the face of unspeakable evil.

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