Friday, June 15, 2018

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

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Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. 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 a hundred 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.

Series: Harry Potter (Book 4)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks (September 1, 2002)
Page Count: 752 pages

I'm on a Harry Potter kick right now, because I'm trying to get all the books read, including Fantastic Beasts, before The Crimes of Grindewald releases! I'm a slow reader and I'm getting these books from the library so it's a bit of a feat for me, but I think I'm going to make it!

The Plot: I saw the film years ago, so I do remember some of the key twists (not the one with Crouch though), but I didn't remember the circumstances around them. I feel like this book definitely changes everything for Hogwarts and for Harry. Before, Voldemort was a threat, but he wasn't as immediate as he's now become. This is definitely shown in the fact that the book starts by seeing Voldemort and him actually killing the POV character you see him in.

That said I felt like the plot was a bit stretched out to keep with the formulaic concept of the story happening in time with the school year. It's one thing I actually liked in the movie better (I watched it again after reading the book) is that everything felt more compact. For example, Harry procrastinated finding out the clue in the dragon egg and I started getting a bit bored when I figured out what the egg meant pages before Harry did (and I'd forgotten about this). 

But the story definitely ends with a bang that changes everything at Hogwarts and affects Harry in the books to come. The climax was worth reading the book for.

The Characters: I know that Harry was under a lot of pressure because people thought he was lying about putting his name into the goblet when he didn't really do it, but honestly, with how much Harry lies I can't say I blame people. It felt like he lied constantly in this book and often when it's not necessary. 

I liked seeing more of the Weasley's. We finally get to meet them all in this book! Fred and George are the best as always. It was also really neat to see people from other schools besides Hogwarts, so the world of Harry Potter expanded a bit. Krum and Fleur were interesting characters and were good competitors for the Triwizard Tournament. I also enjoyed Cedric as a character as well. 

Moody was an interesting character as well. It was cool getting a look into professions wizards can have and his magical eye was very creative. I love Ron's new familiar Pigwidgeon. He's so cute! And I love seeing more of Hedwig. Though my favorite character is still Neville, especially after learning more about his past. 

The Setting: The great thing about the Harry Potter series is with each book we get to see more and more of the Wizarding World. In this book, we get to see World Quidditch Cup, glimpses of Durmstrang and Beauxbaton schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry, an aquatic part of Hogwarts, and a spooky graveyard. 

Epic Things: I thought a very clever spell was one Fudge used to make his voice sound like he was using a mic. I also love the Weasley's clock that shows where everyone is. Also, the veela and the leprechauns at the World Cup made me laugh. 

The Theme: I really liked this quote from Dumbledore when Hagrid was feeling upset about his lineage revealed by the ever-annoying Rita Skeeter:
"Really, Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you'll be in that cabin for a very long time. Not a week has passed since I became the headmaster of this school when I haven't had at least one owl complaining about the way I run it. But what should I do? Barricade myself in my study and refuse to talk to anybody?"
Not everybody is going to agree with you and that's okay and that doesn't mean we should get all angry at people for having different opinions.

Content Cautions: There is a little swearing with seven uses of d*** and one use of h***. It's implied that some leprechauns give their competitor mascots the bird. Most of the content is in the violence. Bad wizards torture a muggle family, a character has a bloody nose and a black eye, a character gets a deep cut on his shoulder, and in a magical ritual a character cuts off his own hand.

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

Laws for Magic - This book introduces a lot of the dark sides of magic, especially when Moody introduces the Unforgivable Curses: the Imperius Curse (controlling another like a puppet), the Cruciatus Curse (causing another person intense pain), and the Killing Curse. This shows that the magic of this world has moral limitations. There are also laws for spells such as apparating because of the potential danger it has for the caster. If apparating isn't cast correctly, the caster can leave behind parts of himself. Like driving a car, you have to have to pass a test to apparate. 

How this can be applied to writing: Does magic in your world have laws for what's considered bad magic?

Conclusion: Despite the plot stretching a bit too long, I still enjoyed this book. :) 

About the Author:
J K (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling was born in the summer of 1965 at Yate General Hospital in England and grew up in Chepstow, Gwent where she went to Wyedean Comprehensive. Jo left Chepstow for Exeter University, where she earned a French and Classics degree, and where her course included one year in Paris. As a postgraduate she moved to London to work at Amnesty International, doing research into human rights abuses in Francophone Africa. She started writing the Harry Potter series during a Manchester to London King's Cross train journey, and during the next five years, outlined the plots for each book and began writing the first novel. Jo then moved to northern Portugal, where she taught English as a foreign language. She married in October 1992 and gave birth to her daughter Jessica in 1993. When her marriage ended, she returned to the UK to live in Edinburgh, where "Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone" was eventually completed and in 1996 she received an offer of publication. The following summer the world was introduced to Harry Potter."Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" was published by Bloomsbury Children's Books in June 1997 and was published as "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in America by Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic in September 1998.The second title in the series, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", was published in July 1998 (June 2, 1999 in America) and was No. 1 in the adult hardback bestseller charts for a month after publication. "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" was published on 8th July 1999 (September 8, 1999 in America) to worldwide acclaim and massive press attention. 

The book spent four weeks at No.1 in the adult hardback bestseller charts, while "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" simultaneously topped the paperback charts. In the US the first three Harry Potter books occupied the top three spots on numerous adult bestseller lists.The fourth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" was published in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia 8th July 2000 with a record first print run of 1 million copies for the UK and 3.8 million for the US. It quickly broke all records for the greatest number of books sold on the first weekend of publication. The fifth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," was published in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia on 21st June 2003. Published in paperback on 10th July 2004, it is the longest in the series - 766 pages - and broke the records set by "Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire" as the fastest selling book in history. The sixth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", was published in the UK, US and other English-speaking countries on 16th July 2005 and also achieved record sales.The seventh and final book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," was published in the UK, US and other English speaking countries on 21st July 2007. The book is the fastest selling book in the UK and USA and sales have contributed to breaking the 375 million copies mark worldwide.J K Rowling has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry's school books within the novels. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Quidditch Through The Ages" were published by Bloomsbury Children's Books and Scholastic in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. The Harry Potter books have sold 400 million copies worldwide. They are distributed in over 200 territories and are translated into 67 languages. Find her on her website and Twitter!

Other Books by this Author I've Reviewed:
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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