Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling

Summary: Harry Potter is midway through both his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursley's and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasley's. 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 this case, different can be deadly.

My Review: Nearly double the size of the first or second book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a daunting 734 pages. Rowling needed every last one of those pages to cram this massively, delightfully detailed story into one book. Had it been any shorter (like the movie) I wouldn’t have been able to discover more about the home life of the Weasley family (always amusing) or get the full experience of the Quidditch World Cup. All the extra pages gave Rowling the freedom to stretch her wings a bit and expound on all sorts of unknown facts, important back story, and interesting tidbits of the wizarding world.

The introduction of a number of new and fascinating characters, like Mad Eye Moody, Rita Skeeter, Victor Krum, Fleur DelaCour, Winky and others, allowed for further growth in the series while still keeping things fresh and interesting. Finally, awkward teenage romance between the characters gradually came into play and it was HYSTERICAL.

The only thing that bugged me about this book was the chapter wherein ________ spilled their guts to Harry about just why exactly they were evil and what they’d done to prove it. It was a big monologue and it got a little old. I’m sure the first time I read it my head was just reeling with all the revelation, but on the third time through, all I noticed was just how LONG it was. I wanted to get back to the action.

Goblet of Fire is considerably darker than the three previous books. It’s no secret that this is the first book where an important character dies. We are also given a deeper look at just what the “Dark Arts” entail as the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher shows students the Unforgivable Curses (one of which is the Killing Curse that took the lives of Harry’s parents). There is also a dramatic increase in the mild profanity used by major characters. I think it’s important to know this if you’re planning on letting your 8-11 year old read the series, that while 1,2,and 3 might be okay to read unsupervised, this one probably is not.

Dumbledore’s speech at the end was epic. Magnificent. I even got a little teary while reading. I think what I loved most about this book, and many of her others, is J.K. Rowling’s attention to detail. It was the little things that made this book for me. She even goes so far as to give Harry’s owl an attitude/inferiority complex. A pointed look from Hermione, an off the wall comment from Ron, a nosy bathroom ghost, all these details and many more combine to make this story an excellent continuation of the Harry Potter Series.

SIDENOTE: This was a HORRIBBLE read aloud book because, since I’m not capable of affecting a French or a Russian-ish accent, it was hard to vocalize some of the lines. Many of the new characters have accents that are written with a partial lilt “ze horses zat we brought…” so that while you know how to say “ze,” “horses” remains a mystery. I usually just end up sounding really bad.

My rating: 4.5 Stars. Great book, but much more adult than the last three and definitely starting to mature with it’s original audience. This is the first book of the series I probably would suggest parents read BEFORE letting their children under 11 read it as it contains much more “biblical” profanity than the last three and considerably darker themes.

To sum it up: A sometimes hilarious, sometimes emotional, and always fascinating year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.


Irish said...

I love the Harry Potter series ..... oh how I miss that feeling you get when you read a really good series for the first time :)

MindySue said...

I have to say, I think I'm enjoying these books even more the second and third time around because 1) I waited a long time to re read and 2) I'm picking up on SO much that I missed the last time I read. It's great to see how much foreshadowing and little clues are dropped.
I am consistently amazed by JK Rowling.

Gerbera Daisy Diaries said...

Ok -- you are tempting me to re-read them! I just have SO many others to read too!


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