Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J. K. Rowling
I’m officially half-way through the Harry Potter series, and I am totally hooked and just loving it! I definitely think plot-wise and writing-wise, each book gets better and better. I love the characters and I love watching them learn and grow and face new challenges. There were a few things that really shocked/surprised me in this book, but I really enjoyed this fourth installment.
Spoilers ahead! We find Harry managing at the Dursley’s by hiding his school things and food that his friends have sent by owl. They have all remembered his birthday and sent cakes and presents. Ron has also sent an invitation for Harry to join them at the Quidditch World Cup and then stay with him for the last two weeks of summer. Harry persuades his uncle to let him go by reminding him that if he goes, Harry will be gone two weeks earlier than expected. The Quidditch World Cup is greater than even hoped, but it all ends terribly when during the night of celebrations, Death Eaters (Voldemort’s supporters) come to the camp and torture some Muggle-borns. Somehow Harry loses his wand and it gets used by a dark wizard to set off the sign of Voldemort causing confusion and fear. Soon, the excitement dies down and there is no clue as to what really happened. Harry, Ron, and Hermione return to Ron’s and then go back to Hogwarts. When they arrive they learn that this year will be very different. Instead of the usual house Quidditch games, two new schools (Durmstrang and Beauxbatons) will be joining Hogwarts and a representative (17 or older) from each school will participate in the dangerous Triwizard Tournament. Students freely enter by dropping their name in the Goblet of Fire, and at the announcing ceremony, one student from each school will be chosen by the Goblet. At the ceremony all goes smoothly as three students are chosen: Krum, Fleur and Cedric, but then all is confusion when a fourth name is called out: Harry Potter. It is a huge alarm because the Goblet must have been tricked to call out a fourth name and it cannot be undone – Harry must compete. Harry is shaken and consequently teased and jeered at because everyone thinks he magically put his name in (when he didn’t), and he even looses Ron’s friendship for a while over it. Hermione sticks by him though and soon Harry faces the first of three challenges: getting past an angry dragon to steal a golden egg. He does so by summoning his Firebolt and lives to go on to round two. This time, he must figure out how to breathe below water and save the thing he holds most dear: Ron (they have made up by this point). Dolby helps him (Dolby works in the Hogwarts’ kitchen now) by giving him a gillyweed to eat, which will let him breathe under water, and Harry rescues Ron and Fleur’s sister. Then it’s back to classes and prep for the last round. All throughout the year, Harry has gotten close to the new Dark Arts professor, Moody, and he has helped Harry get out of various scrapes. The final task is finally at hand: surviving through a maze to get to the Triwizard Cup. Harry’s journey is surprisingly uneventful, but he soon runs into Cedric and they get to the Cup at the same time and agree to touch it together. When they do, it turns into a Portkey (an object that can transport someone to a certain place). Harry and Cedric get taken to a graveyard where Cedric is immediately killed. Harry is captured by Wormtail and forced to witness Voldemort return to human form and then forced to duel him. During their duel, Harry fights with everything he has and is able to stand up to Voldemort. Their wands clash (because they are made with the same ingredient) and Harry reverses Voldemort’s last killings and sees their ghosts, including his parents and Cedric (whose last wish is that his body be returned to his parents). Harry holds off Voldemort long enough to escape to the Portkey with Cedric’s body. Once back at Hogwarts, where everything is in disarray and confusion, Harry is taken inside by Prof. Moody, but soon learns that he is actually working for Voldemort. Prof. Dumbledore comes in time to rescue Harry and the truth comes out about Moody and who he really is (another Death Eater: he took Moody’s form in order to do Voldemort’s bidding). When everything is wrapped up and resolved, the school is informed about Harry’s heroics and the school year comes to an end. It is bittersweet with the realization that one of their own is dead and that Voldemort has returned, but that Harry kept things from being worse.
Summing it up: another great installment in the Harry Potter series!
All the best, Abbey