on 22 June 2003
After reading such a masterpiece, you would think that Joanne Rowling had tired and wouldn't be able to bring out another good book for awhile. How wrong we all were. The Goblet of Fire stands as one of the greatest children books ever written (and one of the longest) and for this, I think that I have a lot to say about this superior novel.
When it came to reading this, I was very aware of Joanne Rowling's style and the way in which Harry's came about. When I picked up this book, Joanne Rowling seemed to be giving us something new. In this novel, we get a very detailed piece about the Quidditch World Cup, a sport that in the wizard world is very much like football in our world. It is at this match that the whole tail of events seem to come about and it is this part that shows Joanne Rowling has got a true dark side to her. Using the Goblet of Fire as a starting point, she uses this to bring to try and bring Voldermort back and because of this, she has written one of the darkest pieces of children's fiction ever created in a long time.
It is a big long adventure that just makes you want to stay for the whole ride. Joanne Rowling does not cut corners for us. She makes u go all the way and she takes the dangerous road where there seems like no way of escape.
After you have read this, you are so deep in shock that it is pretty hard to go through the day without thinking about everything you have just read. The story does not seem to finish. It is a major prologue for book 5 (which I had to wait 2 years to read - it was worth the wait). There is nothing better then this book and the climax that goes into Order of Pheonix. You'll never read another book like this in your life.
So be prepared for the ultimate in adventure, magic, danger and most of all Joanne Rowling's brilliant talent to crete a magnificent story.
When I saw how long this book was compared to the previous three I was a bit doubtful. How could JK Rowling possibly fill all those pages with one school year at Hogwarts? But she did. We're thrown into Harry's life in the middle of the summer holidays when he goes to stay with the Weasleys to go to the Quidditch World Cup and then we're in for an extremely eventful year at Hogwarts.
It seemed to me (before reading the book) that this fourth one in the series is more "adult" than the previous ones. I based that opinion purely on the length of the book. Having read it I feel that this has been confirmed. Harry, Ron and Hermione are growing up. They're no longer kids, but proper teenagers, which might be why I enjoyed this book more than the previous ones. I don't think this will affect children's enjoyment of this book though as the main ingredients (learning magic, coping with school and schoolfriends, and the dark powers that seem to follow Harry wherever he goes) are still present.
I also enjoyed the fact that we're getting to know the other Weasleys better as they're gradually taking on more importance as Harry's substitute family. Getting closer acquainted with Dobby, the house-elf is thoroughly enjoyable since he adds a lot of the comedy value to this story.
I think it's important to read these books in the right order as there are a lot of references to Harry's past. If you have not enjoyed the first three as much as you thought you would I'd still stick with it as this book really does mark a bit of a change from children's book to book for all ages.
on 3 February 2009
In book form, the Goblet of Fire was a hard book to read, let alone finish - with such parts as the opening chapter and the quidditch world cup being a perfect remedy for insomnia. However, this cd edition is just amazing from start to finish. Stephen Fry is a perfect narrator, getting all the voices just right, and providing a very dramatic and epic approach to the story of the Triwizard Cup.... and one of the most exciting and dangerous years of Harry Potter's life.
I have listened to this in almost every spare moment and have relaxed and throughly enjoyed every moment.
The Harry Potter books have always been epic and exciting, but the audio cds take this one step ahead, and are great things to listen to any moment of the day. If you are a fan of Harry Potter or Stephen Fry (I am a fan of both)you should get this.
on 23 October 2003
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, is the 4th book in the ever-expanding Harry Potter series. By ever-expanding, I don't just mean that the series is getting longer. I'm talking about the books themselves. Compared to the previous three books, this one is huge. Weighing in at 734 pages, it's almost triple the size of The Prisoner of Azkaban. Does the increased length hurt the book at all? Not a bit. In fact, this is probably the best book in the series.
It starts out as the same thoroughly charming narrative about Harry, his friends, and the lurking presence of Voldemort in his life. There are some chilling events at the beginning of the book which show just how evil Voldemort and his minions really are. However, these events are nothing compared to the ending. This book takes the series in a darker direction, with an ending that will make you shiver. The best part about it is that it's a surprise. The entire book leads up to it, but you don't realize how until you actually get there. Instead, you keep wondering just what Voldemort's plan is and why Harry is so important to it. Because of that, for about 650 pages you are given an extra layer to the story. There's the always enjoyable interaction between the characters and the adventures that they have, and the budding mystery behind it all. This is a book I wasn't able to put down very easily.
The characters are much the same, though they do have a certain amount of growth that is common in moving from thirteen years old to fourteen. Harry's starting to think even more about girls, especially Cho Chang. He's still awkward around them, though, and acts like a typical teenager. Ron hasn't changed a whole lot, but I don't think he ever will. Some kids are like that, too. Hermione has probably changed the most, as she has become an activist. Events at the beginning of the novel inspire her to have a cause and create an organization to further that cause. It's too bad that Rowling couldn't make this aspect of her character more interesting, though. Whenever Hermione brought up the subject, the book took a major downturn and I became bored very quickly. Thankfully, though, these sequences are short so the book doesn't lose too much momentum. Unfortunately, this is going to be an ongoing plot line, so I hope Rowling can make it more interesting in the future. The interaction between the three characters is what makes the book so good, though. They bicker, they make up, they stand up for each other to the end. They are the perfect group of friends and they make the book a joy to read.
The minor characters are done just as well. Dumbledore, the head of the school, is still the mysterious but always helpful old man that he's been throughout the series. He's never rattled, never quick to anger, and always willing to help Harry when he needs it the most. The other regular teachers are just as good, with the exception of Trelawney who is yet again terribly boring and one-note, always predicting that Harry will suffer some horrible fate. However, it's the new characters that shine in this one. Mad-Eye Moody, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, is vividly portrayed. He's paranoid, always looking over his shoulder with his magic eye that can see through things, but he's enormously helpful to Harry when the chips are down. He harbours a secret though, and throughout the book you think you know what it is. But you don't, really. He's incredibly interesting and his characterization is wonderful. The other new character is Rita Skeeter, a slimy reporter for The Daily Prophet newspaper. She keeps writing stories about Harry that are completely untrue, making up quotes that make him look pompous and/or stupid. Harry is always embarrassed by these stories and his reputation around school takes a turn for the worse and everybody thinks he's a glory-hog. While I found Rita's character suitably smarmy, unfortunately the end of her story didn't do as much for me. It almost felt tacked on, like Rowling almost forgot to end it and then had to backtrack to put in clues to it.
The plot of the book, with its mysterious tournament between the three schools and Harry's involvement in it, is thrilling. You really feel for Harry as he is constantly tormented by his classmates who think that he entered just out of a desire for attention. The events themselves are suitably exciting, showcasing Harry's charity and his quick-thinking. Ron finally cracks under the pressure of always being in Harry's shadow, and they actually have a truly believable fight. As I said above, I didn't like Hermione's subplot very much, but she did a wonderful job in a supporting role for the other plots. The atmosphere gets darker and darker, and then there is the ending. All of a sudden, it's midnight, getting ready for a very dark book 5. For the first time, you get the sense that this is one long story told over a number of books, rather than a series of adventures about Harry and his friends. The book leaves you hanging, and I really felt sorry for the people who had to wait three years for it, instead of just moving on to the next book like I was able to do.
This is a wonderful addition to the series, and it keeps getting better and better. Bring on book 5!