Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.jpg

The fourth overall and first of the longer entries of author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter pantheon opens with events at the Riddle House in Little Hangleton, where Frank Bryce, the abode’s gardener, overhears a conversation between Wormtail and his master. Around the same time, Harry Potter, back with the Dursleys for the summer, is pained by his scar, consequentially writing his godfather Sirius Black about the affliction. Life with Harry’s bigoted family is slightly more tolerable than before, with Aunt Petunia putting the whole family on a diet that Dudley sneakily avoids.

Uncle Vernon also seems to have somewhat loosened up, allowing his nephew to go to the Quidditch World Cup with the Weasley family, some of who materialize in the Dursleys’ boarded fireplace via Floo powder, causing some damage, with Harry joining them before more trouble erupts in the household. Mr. Weasley is angry with his twin sons Fred and George for pranking Dudley with trick candy, and Amos Diggory and his son Cedric, who plays Quidditch on Hogwarts School’s Hufflepuff team, introduced, a boot serving as a portkey serving as a waypoint to the stadium where the Cup is held.

The Ireland and Bulgaria Quidditch teams face off, Viktor Krum a star athlete in the latter team, and after the match, someone fires the Dark Mark, indicative of the alleged return of Voldemort, into the sky, chaos erupting; a house-elf named Winky, a friend of the Malfoy family’s former house-elf Dobby, is accused. Harry and the Weasleys return to the latter’s home, the Burrow, for the remainder of the summer holidays, with the day of the train to Hogwarts ultimately coming, and Hermione Granger actively campaigning for house-elf welfare upon her discovery that they staff the school.

The supposedly-cursed Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position is staffed by an Auror, a dark wizard hunter, named Mad-Eye Moody, who teaches initially about the Unforgivable Curses, one of which Harry survived when he was an infant. Another major announcement is that Hogwarts would be host to the ancient Triwizard Tournament, with rival European magic schools Beauxbatons and Durmstrang sending delegations to the Scottish sorcery school, the latter having a notorious reputation for teaching actual dark arts instead of merely defense.

When the time comes for the book’s eponymous Goblet of Fire to shoot out slips of paper providing the names of the candidates for each school, the name of a fourth candidate, and second for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, emerges, bearing none other than Harry Potter’s name. Initial controversy arises, although Harry is surprisingly allowed into the competition, due to an alleged mandate. Even Harry didn’t want to participate in the Tournament, which begs the question of why he didn’t just sit on the sidelines and affirm Cedric Diggory as the real Hogwarts champion.

A yellow journalist named Rita Skeeter regularly posts harassing articles about Harry and his alleged personal problems and romances, during which the Boy Who Lived participates in the first of the three Triwizard Tasks, involving dragons. He ultimately hears back from his godfather, and at one points meets him face-to-face in a secret cave in the middle of the schoolyear. The second task involves rescuing individuals from a dangerous underwater scenario, and Harry receives help in this area from unlikely allies such as Moaning Myrtle and Dobby.

The school term concludes with the third task involving a giant hedge maze, with Harry and the select few questioning his entrance into the Triwizard Tournament essentially vindicated due to the tragedy that consequentially occurs. Time travel had also received its introduction as a central plot element in the climax of the fourth entry’s immediate predecessor, begging the additional question of why the good characters didn’t just simply turn back time and avoid the concluding tragedies. Rowling allegedly rewrote one chapter several times due to an alleged plot hole, although she seemed to ignore these obvious faults in the narrative.

Even so, Goblet of Fire, as the longest entry before its successors, definitely follows the series’ pattern of growing with its readers, as younger audiences likely wouldn’t be able to fully digest a doorstopper of its increased scope and maturity. Regardless of the flaws in the writing, Rowling definitely weaves and engaging yarn that definitely doesn’t slog, and keeps the reader, child or adult, hooked towards the end, with plenty of surprise twists and turns, some coming during the final chapter. Those that enjoyed other entries of the series definitely owe it to themselves to check out the fourth installment.

No comments:

Post a Comment