Fourteen-year-old Harry Potter joins the Weasleys at the Quidditch World Cup, then enters his fourth year at Hogwarts Academy where he is mysteriously entered in an unusual contest that challenges his wizarding skills, friendships and character, amid signs that an old enemy is growing stronger.
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Along the way, Harry and his cohort encounter the usual mix of familiar faces and new characters, and more secrets of the school and the wizarding world are revealed as well.
Our young heroes are also now immersed in the roiling hormonal mess of early adolescence, and J K Rowling does not spare us from witnessing some of its pains. Ron and Hermione are not getting along, Harry is wracked by doubts and insecurity – the tone of the entire book is in fact more jittery and nervous, as Harry dreads and procrastinates over the tasks that await him, and Hogwarts itself is gripped by rumors of the Dark Lord’s return.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a real door-stop of a book – but it’s also engaging and well-written. I read it at the same time as my seven-year-old daughter, and it provides the perfect fodder for Dad-n-Daughter literary discussion. It’s also a splendid way to convince kids that they’re capable of reading ‘really, really long!’ books – once a child has knocked off the 700+ pages of this monster, she’s not going to flinch at too many reading assignments thereafter.
In the fourth book, Harry attends the Quidditch World Cup, where Voldemort's old 'Death Eaters' persecute a Muggle, only to be scared away by the appearance of the Dark Mark, Voldemort's sign. Back at Hogwart's. the Triwizard Tournament has been reinstated, only shortly to become the Quadwizard Tournament, as Harry is unexpectedly entered into it. As well as undergoing all the tests and difficulties inherent to the tournament itself, most suspect Harry of cheating to get his name listed and so he is socially austracised as well.
The social commentary that was there in places in the previous three books is much stronger in the fourth. The level of the language that Rowling uses is greatly advanced over previous novels, too, and one would think that perhaps her writing is growing up with her readership. If that supposition is correct, it suggests that Rowling is a better writer than I had suspected, and that the popularity of these books has much more to do with their style than simply with marketing firepower alone.
However, the fault of this novel is that it is very long. Although there is a lot of information shared that will become prevalent later and impertinent, I feel as though being concise was something Rowling refused to consider (what is worse is this is not even the longest book in the series…more on that later). But, it all make for an interesting yarn and the book truly never gets boring. But, I believe that when this book was first released, it caused Harry Potter Syndrome with children worldwide: increased eyestrain & headaches from reading such a massive novel hours on end.
In the end, the novel matures Harry by his experience—but only through experience. If anything, he seems less grown up in the end. Harry becomes increasingly enraged and petty and this turbulent river flows over into the next book. However, the utter brilliance of Rowling’s writing gives us something in Harry that teens of the same age can relate to (and hopefully appreciate). Harry is a flawed hero. We know it as readers and can become increasingly frustrated by his actions (and lack thereof). I feel, however, that in the end we all end with the same sympathy (and, perhaps, a little empathy) knowing that the burdens have truly just begun.
J.K. Rowling has done something very commendable in this book when she cranked the "dark-o-meter" up to eleven. Do not expect the author to pull any punches; there is a very good reason the "forbidden curses" were explained. This novel is a critical element to the seven part series and should not be missed.
In any case, I remember the first time I read this I was absolutely blown away by the ending...even though I had trained myself at this point to be watchful for the endings of Harry Potter novels, I still didn't see this one coming. There were several scenes (when Harry is stuck in the stair and Snape is feet away) that were masterfully done, and I tore apart this book because I was so anxious to find out what would happen next. In general, a great children's book by Rowling.
At last I could resist no longer, and started the fourth Harry Potter book. I don’t know what it is about them, but the Harry Potter books are very difficult to put down once you’ve got into it, perhaps there is a little magic in the pages of the book, an enchantment in it. Or it could be because it’s really easy to read, no difficult words or long complex sentences. But this can only be a small part of it’s attraction, for other children’s books don’t hold that appeal any longer, and I’m sure that’s the case for the millions of adult readers of Harry Potter too. The story is one of universal appeal too, with complexity there for those who want to think about it, but other than that very simple. It’s about good and evil, with a few shades of grey in there too. The fourth book is about twice as long as the other books, at about 600 pages, but this does not seem to detract from the book at all, in fact if anything it adds to it, after all the enjoyment lasts longer. It doesn’t seem drawn out at all, and could have been twice as long. Things aren’t as clear cut in this book, not as pure black or white. Perhaps this is because Harry is growing up now. The end of the book also breaks the status quo that has been in force until now, for Lord Voldemort has his old body back and is more powerful than ever. Annoyingly this happens shortly before the end of the book, so we’ll have to wait for subsequent books to find out what happens. Recommended to anyone over the age of 8, though I’d advise reading the other books before this one.
After re-reading this series (again), I've come to the conclusion that HP4 is my favorite of the seven. It's meatier than the first three, and it's also the last installment before things get really dark and difficult. You can believe that Harry is still a kid through this
By this point, Rowling has caught her stride, and begun that inescapable page-climb for which she
Not only are there the questions of Why all the secrecy, but now How, as well. The plot leaps around as is its wont, aided by a magical urging here or a convenient villain there, and the promised 'dead character' is, of course, one almost entirely given importance solely in this text. This certainly isn't the most underwhelming that her promise of future deaths will become, but it is a foreshadowing.
The characters and conflicts are exciting as ever, and as she finally developed the pacing in the last book to prevent us losing ourself in a plot which twists and turns not so much like a maze, but like a meandering goat trail, we can at least now feel the wind in our hair as we gallop along it.
I really wish that the various psychological and foreshadowed elements would resolve themselves, but one often as not finds that the climax comes with a sense of "oh, are we here already?" rather than "I've been waiting for this".
Rowling seems to do better when things are darker and more hopeless (or perhaps those are the only moments when she cannot draw into the waistcoats of her child's lit contemporaries for inspiration), and this book continues the trend that began with a darker change in tone in 'Prisoner of Azkaban' and culminating in the next offering.
JKR continues to rock. I thoroughly enjoyed this book - I think it was my favorite one, the first time I read them. This book is big and filled to the brim: more characters, more plots, more detail about the
Things that happen for the first time in the series (AKA Things that I liked):
1. We have mention of Bellatrix Lestrange, who is one of my favorite characters. We also learn a lot more about the events of 13 years ago. This is something I did not pay much attention to the first time around ("screw all these old folks, what's going on with Neville?").
2. We have the ball...and all of the awkward 14-year-old drama that comes with. Ron's dress robes are just a silly device, but man, I giggle whenever I think about them.
3. We learn a lot more about Neville's background. Like I've been saying since book #1, there's a lot more to Neville than we think. He's got a big role in all of this.
4. Snape was/is a Death Eater. What's a Death Eater? Well, we learn that, too.
Things that I did not like:
1. The cheesy swapped-body plot resolution for Mad-Eye Moody. "It's not REALLY Mad-Eye Moody..." *pulls off mask* "It's the carnival owners son, Barty!" It seemed very Scooby Doo to me. "And I would have gotten away with it were it not for you meddling kids!"
2. My god, did JKR cram a lot into this book. Subplots galore! I'm glad there was no Quidditch season, otherwise it would have been just overwhelming. S.P.E.W., Rita Skeeter, the tournament itself, the World Cup, etc etc etc. Yowza!
I'm breaking my own plan and have already moved on to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, even though it is not yet May. Things are picking up speed, and I'm really excited to revisit books 5 and 6, which I admit I didn't spend much time on the first time around.
Quidditch plays a very small part in this book, but does feature in the opening as the World Cup comes to the UK
In contrast to the previous book, school takes a backseat as Harry has to complete three challenges during the year. Almost all the book is filled with the sort of overcominng challenges experiances you would expect to find in a fantasy book, but the whole work is lifted by the surprising and very dark ending. This abolsutely makes the book and elevates it far above the otherwise trite three precursors.
It is also worthy of note that there is an increase in social commentry as well - started in PoA but significantly enhanced now, dealing with gender and racial divides and stereotyping, and of course trust and second chances. Not just Dumbledore but Hermione as well make several statements that relate to the today's world. I particularly like Hermione's crusade against inaccurate reporting. The sexual tension surrounding the ball is a bit crigneworthy at times but I suppose accurate enough considering the ages of those involved.
Much better than the previous three and intruigingly dark thsi sets up the main storyline for the remaining books and is far more likely ot be enjoyed by adults.
This is the first book to break the format of the previous books (centred around Harry's school year)
The comedy, and the narrative as a whole are more "grown up" than the previous books, and the book finishes in such a fashion that any reader will probably be clamouring to get their hands on the next installment!
This story moves from previous novels that were no more than a few hundred pages to a much longer novel. J.K. Rowling begins to take away the layers covering Harry, Ron, and
This is a great book and the series as a whole is even better.
What is missing from the movies, however, are Winky and Dobby (which, to me, lessons the impact of Dobby in the first installment of the final Harry Potter movie). Neville Longbottom is featured more prominently then he appeared to be in the book (Dobby originally gave the gillyweed to Harry) and it kind of jumbles things up a bit. Also, I don't understand why, in the movie, the Weasley's and Harry are not sitting in the same box as the Malfoy's - that was a key part of the opening, to me. In fact, that whole Quidditch section of the movie was jumbled and made a lot more sense in the book.
But, this book (and the movie) is my favorite of the bunch. I love tasks, competitions, meeting new people from other wizarding schools. I love seeing Hermione come into her own, I adore Fred and George (especially in the movie, they make me laugh so much when Ron is dancing with Professor McGonagall), and I love the fast-paced action of the story.
Other fantastic characters include:
Cedric Diggory (Y'all, I admit, I cry every time)
.. and though technically not a character, I love the bit of tension between Harry and Cho. It's a reminder that they are indeed growing up.
By and far my favorite book out of the series and close to my favorite movie. The jury is still out on that one.