Consumed by the Goblet of Fire

harry potter review

*Spoiler Line: PROCEED WITH CAUTION*

goblet of fireSo I will admit that I didn’t write as much in the way of notes for book 4, because I was pretty gripped from the start. I know it sets a very different tone, but I’ve always liked that creepy opening and how it builds up the sense that this is going to be a very different book from what’s come before… although not too different, since it’s quickly followed by the humorous introduction of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and then flies into the Quidditch World Cup (who else was devastated that they never included that in the films?)

It’s not all fun and games though and things quickly take a dark turn (one could even say that moment of cheer was just a Wronsky Feint 😉 ) with a hint of all the grim  things to come. I’m talking, of course, about the Death Eaters- I mean, who wasn’t freaked out by them as a kid?!? Or even as an adult?! That injection of terror is incredibly powerful and seeing the mistreatment of muggles is a strong moment in the series, pushing the message of anti-racism very effectively.

I am always impressed with the plot of Goblet of Fire, although I did notice more kinks this time round. For instance, while Barty Crouch is an excellent villain and I love how he outsmarted everyone, I couldn’t help but wonder… how?! I mean, did it never occur to Dumbledore that Harry was put in the Tournament because someone wanted him to win it? Especially as it becomes apparent that he was never in any danger in the first two rounds and he seems to do remarkably well. But I guess child safety is never the Hogwart’s headmaster’s biggest concern and Harry’s happy to throw caution to the wind in an effort to win. Like I said, I really enjoy this plot and the dramatic showdown in the graveyard is dead epic, so it’s probably best not to think about it too much…

That said, Voldy is a moron– Wormtail points out to him that literally any wizard would have done and that abducting Harry seems like a waste of effort- but does he listen to his advisor? No, of course not, he has to go with the convoluted plan and gets lucky that Dumbledore’s not paying too much attention to all the strange goings on at his school. And then when he has Harry in his grasp he goes and gives him his wand back, affording him a chance to escape (but whatever, he’s obviously not checked out Peter’s Evil Overlord list, which Cameron Graham introduced me to yesterday).

Speaking of characters I’m not always so keen on, I liked Ron less and less in this one (sorry!). It started with him being touchy about Harry’s gift (who, to be fair, is splashing the cash about). But then he’s a *total* jerk about the whole champion thing and is the walking embodiment of jealousy… until he can bask in the glory of his friend’s success again. He only takes a break from that to complain about not getting a good enough date to the Yule Ball (just try that irl and see how attractive you are to women).

I’m not exactly under the spell of the romance in Harry Potter– but I have to say that the introduction of Cho Chang as Harry’s love interest is sorta endearing. Sure, it’s stupid and immature, but that’s kind of what you’d expect at that age. I personally think that Rowling got the trials and tribulations of first crushes down to a T here. Even if I think some of the pairings leave a lot to be desired.

Still there are other things that leave more of a sour taste in my mouth– namely that this is the year of the SPEW subplot. I’m not fond of it at all. Not only does it slow down the story and make the book feel a little overlong, but I find it makes Hermione a bit irritating. I get that it’s representing her as a mini activist and so it makes sense that she’s pretty oblivious to what the House Elves actually tell her they want, but maybe she could have just asked. Although, I do think it’s solid character development and ends up being another example of the ongoing Hermione is always right theme in the series. Whatever Hermione says is always a good metric of where the narrative is heading- which is why she gets to have such a central role in the Rita Skeeter plot. And I have to say, while I’m on the fence about some of the other storylines, I’m not even remotely bugged about how that part plays out 😉

Okay, so I know I’ve been hypercritical in this review, but I wouldn’t take it too personally, cos this is still one of my favourites. And like I said at the start, I was too absorbed to take notes (clearly most of what I wrote were all the parts I had a question mark over)Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it this time round as much as I usually do though, which is why I’m giving it:

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

small bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall bananasmall half banana

So what do you think of book 4? Am I being a bit harsh? Let me know in the comments!

74 thoughts on “Consumed by the Goblet of Fire

  1. Well book 4 is my favorite with the last one. I am with you on Ron not being really kind but what amazed me throughout this series is how JK Rowling made them grow from kids to young adults. Their interests change, their reactions, their love their… It was a real character’s growth and I loved it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. the Quidditch World Cup (who else was devastated that they never included that in the films?)
    Me me me. I really wanted to see that too.

    Oh my goodness I am fully in agreement with you on Ron in this one. He did get on my nerves a bit, and to be honest, SPEW and Hermione did as well. That said… the advancement of the story was just too great to have anything really detract.

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    1. YES!!! I was so looking forward to it and then it was really hyped in the film… I couldn’t believe when it just cut to them celebrating!! I thought there was some mistake!!

      I’m glad you agree with me there. But yes I totally agree- I still loved this book and (even if it didn’t seem that way here) it’s still one of my favourites.

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  3. Voldemort is such a bad villain once you comapre him to the Evil Overlord List! A small selection of his errors which would have been eliminated had he just read it once includes:
    #6 – I will not gloat over my enemies’ predicament before killing them.
    #12 – One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.
    #17 – When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.
    On the other hand, he does make an effort to follow some rules, so maybe his failures aren’t entirely his fault and Fate was just not on his side:
    #27 – I will never build only one of anything important. All important systems will have redundant control panels and power supplies. For the same reason I will always carry at least two fully loaded weapons at all times.
    (Most wizards who made … *The Things* only made one, maaaaybe two. He makes seven. That’s a lot of backups!)
    #47 – If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.
    (I mean, he blew it, but he did his best to kill Harry as a baby before he could pose any threat to him!)

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          1. He tries so hard! He puts in all this effort in his plan (usually failing to spot the much easier option right in front of himself) and it nearly always gets undone by Harry just stumbling straight past the obvious traps by pure accident! I feel kind of bad for him…

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              1. I say this, but I actually really like Harry and think he’s a fun protagonist. I was talking last night to a friend who was all ‘He’s so stupid, I can’t stand him’ and when I asked why it all came down to Harry being excited about the sport he’s interested in and caring about people, and it really scared me. Have we got to a point where caring about people is considered stupid?

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                1. hehehe gotta admit I’m with your friend 😉 For me it’s more that he walks *straight into* loads of traps that are laid for him and never thinks before he acts. Really between him and Voldy it often feels like a stupid-off (sorry- that’s just how I feel about HP!)

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                  1. Nah, I have a lot of concerns with the series, but I’m pretty fond of Harry. He’s always criticised for never going and getting help, and I always ask ‘Who’s help?’ The adults in his life are all totally useless, saving for Sirius who at least tried his very best to be there adn help however much he could. Mcgonagal dismisses Harry whenever he has concerns, Dumbledore is… perfectly happy to just throw young children at a problem until they fix it, Mrs Weasley is flat-out told by her sons that Harry was locked in his room with bars on the window and starved when they rescued him and does nothing, Remus just waltzes out of Harry’s life without a glance back until he’s back and acting like he didn’t just drop the boy for two years. Harry has no support network except for two kids his own age and his owl, and no one to tell him that it would be a bad thing if he died or got hurt. Harry even references hwo the Dursley’s would be furious that Harry hadn’t taken one of his many opporrtunities to die and that’s always so saddening for me!
                    Harry needs more hugs, is what that boy needs…

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                    1. hehe well I’m not gonna say I don’t think Harry’s stupid (I mean, he’s tricked by Draco in book 1 with the Midnight Duel, which is not a good starting point, all the way through to the whole prophecy debacle). That said, I do think that *a lot* of the adults let him down, so I agree with you there. Especially Dumbledore. And yeah Mrs Weasley is ridiculous with him- I mean she simultaneously leaves him with his abusive relatives and then acts over protective when all he wants is information?! (information that could have saved him from going to the Ministry in the first place!) That said, he frequently gets good advice from Hermione…. and ignores it (again, like with the Ministry part)- because, frankly, he thinks he knows best. So yeah, I’m less sympathetic, but I see your point. He’s a complex character- he just rubs me the wrong way.

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                    2. I think Harry and Hermione’s relationship is fascinating. They’re very different people – he’s very intuitive and she’s very evidence-based. The downside is that Hermione never thinks Harry’s right about anything (witness Harry’s sixth year, and the firebolt) and if he’d listened to Hermione from the start in his fifth year then Mr Weasley would have died horribly, all alone, so I can see why Harry wouldn’t want to stop dreaming until it was too late.
                      But yes, Harry is very much a ‘If you had any common sense, we wouldn’t havea story here’ kind of protagonist, but then if he had any common sense then Voldemort would have risen again in his first year at school, because adults in this world can never be left in charge of anything…

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                    3. haha that’s true- Hermione’s not with out her faults (I mean, all of the Golden trio are pretty well rounded characters) I’m just more forgiving of hers (characters are like people, we can’t like em all 😉 ) hahahah yes!

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                    4. Ah, we all have our favourite characters! That’s the fun of books after all! I dunno, I wasn’t much of a Hermione-fan, but then I had overbearing friends I didn’t have the spine to stand up to in secondary school, so that’s probably why…

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                    5. hehe yes! And that’s fair- it’s funny because she was just shy of being annoying to me- I guess it was cos she was more of an insufferable know it all and not domineering (I read a book with a bossy character recently and wanted to *strangle* her- I really don’t get on with people like that)

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                    6. I was fine with her until PoA and the firebolt thing. She never bothers to explain to Harry why she’s worried about the broom, and allow him to make a sensibledecion, she just goes ahead and gets an adult to confiscate Harry’s property and expects he won’t be upset at her. I have a rule that once my friends decide they can run my life better than I can, I go get new friends! But then, this is a trope pretty much all stories with support groups have to include, so that’s probably also why it drives me kinda crazy. You are the supporting cast! So support people before you wind up as extras!

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                    7. That makes sense- I wasn’t happy with her for that, but actually found the SPEW thing more irritating tbh (for a similar reason actually- she was deciding what a group *should* want instead of listening to what they actually wanted- not that it wasn’t a complicated issue, but how she handled it, by leaving out all the hats, was all wrong 😉 ) And yep- I get pretty snappy if people start telling me how to run my life, so I do understand. But at the same time, yeah, there are always pushy characters. For me, a character has to reach a certain threshold before I get annoyed with them for it- so for Hermione, it’s not as bad, because she doesn’t always get so pushy and she kind of learns which battles to push for (and is capable of backing down).

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                    8. Yeah SPEW was… irritating, but I forgave her as the one supportive character in Harry’s life in GoF, so there’s that. Also I’m always sad that she keeps giving people the impression that you can learn everything about a new culture by reading books. That’s not her fault though, Ron after the PS keeps getting pushed further and further out of relevance, so *someone* has to answer questions about the wizarding world! Ron’s only lived in this world his whole life, why would he know things?

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                    9. That was the best thing she ever did in my eyes! Don’t just stop your harrasser, make them suffer until they fear you for the rest of their lives. This discourages others, and gives hope to your allies.

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  4. I really liked book four because I feel like it was a turning point for the Harry Potter series, you can kind of split the series in half between the first three when it felt more innocent and light-hearted (you know, as much as Harry Potter can be innocent and light-hearted), and the last three when everything’s darker and there are higher stakes and something more to fight for.
    I haven’t read the series in a while so I can’t say much for the flaws you saw this time around (maybe when I re-read these books myself I will notice them too), but oh one a side note I love the Evil Overlord List, it never fails to make me laugh!
    Great review. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I agree with you COMPLETELY!! Ron is completely a whiny Bitch in this book (pardon my language).. But, he is! And I never liked Cho, and I feel like the whole “romance” part of Harry Potter really didn’t need to be there.

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  6. OG,

    Goblet was the last book I read aloud to my kids. And I don’t know, something had changed for me. It didn’t seem as magical, and I am with you on Ron. He wasn’t the Ron I had come to love. Of course he was still a kid, but he was a quite unlikable kid now.

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  7. Dumbledore really did seem like a devil may care with the safety of the kids. Or maybe after the Chamber of Secrets he thought, “Eh, Harry and his friends have got this.” Minerva really should have been in charge. And Voldemort definitely fell into the whole monologuing villain trap but then again I think he liked putting on a show. 🙂

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  8. Love it, especially the point about child safety. We were just watching the movie the other night (which, Goblet of Fire is one of the weirdest of all the Harry Potter films) and we were like, “Why aren’t the adults being adults??” Sheesh.

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  9. You’re so right about the SPEW subplot. I struggled when I recently reread the books this month with how Rowling could have condensed this book and thought that the Barty Crouch stuff was what was interesting but unnecessary, but yeah. I think it was the SPEW stuff. It’s irritating to see Hermione ignore what the house elves want and annoy everyone else in the process.

    It might have been better to show her more gradually become aware of the subjugation of all the other subjugated magical races, not just house elves (werewolves, goblins, etc.).

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  10. Out of all the covers I loved this one the most. I have yet to do rereads on this series agian as I read most in Afrikaans. Exited to see what my reviews of them will be. I am glad you have done such great reviews of these books.

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  11. I remember reading this one as a teenager and thinking man this just got really dark and the introduction of romance was just weird to me at the time. Pretty sure I didn’t like it, haha. I remember Ron being a huge baby about Harry’s success but like one of your other commenters said, it does show that transition from kid to teenager when their hormones are kicking in real good. You make a good point about the adults being present but not really present. They were definitely oblivious to a lot until like the last second when shit hit the fan and could have been prevented lol

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  12. There are many things in HP that don’t stand up too well to a close scrutiny, so I decided not to scrutinize too closely 😉 Great fables, not realistic fantasy novels. I’ve just read the first one to my 5yo niece and watching her enthusiasm gave me more joy then reading it myself almost twenty years ago! All the plot-holes and lapses in world-building were straightened out by countless fanfic authors anyway 😉

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  13. I enjoyed Book 4, but starting here I feel that the series needs a MAJOR EDITING JOB. So maybe SPEW should have hit the chopping block. I do agree that it builds Hermione’s character, but it’s also handled with an off & on feeling to it, so I’m not actually sure it’s needed.

    And Dumbledore and Voldemort both have some… odd turns to them. Better not to think about them too much.

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  14. This is my favorite book in the series. I don’t mind the critical review at all. I also wasn’t crazy about the romance parts. I thought them a bit annoying my first time through.

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  15. I always enjoy reading your thoughts on this series! Totally agree that Voldy is the ultimate moron in this book and that it doesn’t make sense how Crouch got past Dumbledore’s omniscience (though the latter I would fault Rowling for making Dumbledore waaay too smart to be realistic lol). Great review! 😉

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  16. Loved your thoughts here, and they’re all good critical points! When I read this, i was /so/ wrapped up in the Tournament. It was so exciting and well done, and really matched the bonkers attitude Rowling had already set up with adults in the wizarding world. And I think that makes the mood whiplash at the end of the tournament all the more powerful. This was a really well executed turning point/coming of age JUMP in the series.

    I agree with your points on Ron being annoying lol and Hermione’s mission with SPEW being a huge misstep. I loved your line here though about Hermione and Rita Skeeter: “I’m not even remotely bugged about how that part plays out.” Ha BUGGED I see what you did there 😀 I wish /that/ subplot had been in the movies.

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  17. I think Dumbledore took it for granted that others would help Harry (Hermione) counting on his popularity but… it was clear many hated and envied him for it.
    As unlikeable as Ron was in this book, I have seen a few guys who have a very, very, excruciatingly similar personality to Ron who would have reacted the same way to his pairing for the Yule Ball and would have definitely become jealous of their more popular male friends. So, while he was unlikeable, it was definitely realistic.
    I want to say Hermione was right in the SPEW matter and I think she might have gotten different ideas by comparing Dobby to the other elves but she was mistaken in terms of understanding that elves might have a different idea of happiness and were bound by and accustomed to their own traditions. I think she was on the right track in some way… there are other Dobby’s (clearly abused) and Winky’s (call it some form of emotional abuse in the domestic sense) who need help. Come to think of it it’s very much campaigning against slavery and domestic abuse. How she went about was a little too in our faces but she was new to this, so I’m not going to fault her too much for it.

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    1. Yeah good point (although I still think he could have considered that the danger in the tournament was not just that he could die competing). Yep, you are right about how Ron is definitely realistic.
      I do get what you mean about Hermione being right in some respects- and I do get how she reached the conclusions she did- it’s just that when you help people you have to listen to them first rather than going in all guns blazing. Like you said, Dobby and Winky clearly were being mistreated, but it was possible to address that without trying to trick all the other house elves into freedom. Even if she did want to reach this point eventually, she could have built up to it. It’s interesting to compare it to real world situations though.

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      1. Yes, completely true… now I’m starting to realise how unreliable DUMBledore can be. While he’s connecting the dots, he forgets to think about the details.
        And yep, I agree with the Hermione points, the approach that you’ve spoken of reminds me of how a therapist would approach it. First, a therapists approach, second, fire up the activist cannon.

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  18. Oh god, I read this one so many times…by far my favorite of the series. But you’re not wrong, frankly a lot of the conflict and danger in Harry Potter is pretty much a question of “wtf was Dumbledore thinking?” Still love it thought, and I’ve always felt Goblet of Fire was the perfect border between the childish magic of the first three and darkness of the last.

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