Friday, December 23, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series and, as I’ve mentioned before, the first book in the series that convinced me I might actually end up really liking these books.  From the very first chapter you know something has changed.  Whereas the previous three books begin with Harry miserably living with the Dursleys, the fourth book begins elsewhere altogether.  The careful reader will, of course, have an idea why the novel begins here and the less careful reader will figure it out sooner rather than later.  But Rowling’s decision, to move the beginning of the novel away from the protagonist is both an interesting choice and an intelligent one.  It puts off the reader just enough to give warning because this is the book that serves as a turning point for one and all.

After the first chapter, the book falls into the familiar pattern and themes from previous volumes are picked up almost immediately when Harry is awoken by a sharp pain to his scar.  As with the previous rereads, I found myself seeing things I had casually overlooked, or perhaps had forgotten because I didn’t realize they held any real significance.  There is a great deal of foreshadowing throughout and once again minor characters are introduced, even if only mentioned in passing, who end up proving to be more significant later on.

I almost wish that she would top being so expositional, reminding the reader of previous events, like how last year Harry Potter’s Gryffindor team lost a Quidditch match to Cedric Diggory’s Hufflepuff team.  Or explaining how Dobby was once a house elf to the Malfoy family until Harry tricked Lucius Malfoy into freeing Dobby from his servitude.  I suppose the justification for this is that the books are written for a younger audience who probably forget details from one book to the next.  Perhaps.  But I think it’s safe to say that by the time someone has read through the first four books, they’ve pretty much made a commitment to the series and most young readers who fall in love with a series of books don’t just read them the one time.  They read and reread and reread them.

I hear some adults do this as well.  Imagine!

Upon reading this book yet again, I can better appreciate why this is the one that really turned the series around for me.  It is superior to the previous three but doesn't completely outshine them because the first three are building up to this pivotal moment, building up the necessary tension, and putting as many of the primary players front and center as possible.

Anyway, here are the rankings:

2 comments:

  1. Last year, my friend, who had seen none of the movies nor read any of the books, was going out to see the next to last movie (7.1) with some friends. So I let her borrow all of my dvds so she could catch up. She's been reading them since then and she's just now starting book four.

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