Monday, May 5, 2014

Reread: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I knew it was just a matter of time...I finally fell behind on the HP reread challenge! I'd like to blame it totally on the fact that I started a new job but, once again, I left the reading to the last minute. And that's a problem now as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire marks the start of some seriously chunky books. For more info about this challenge and the idea behind it, visit Just a Lil' Lost's sign up post. Check out Twitter or Instagram with #HPreread if you want to follow along with us. A reminder: if you haven't read this book, or even finished the whole series, please beware of spoilers. If you don't want parts of the story or series ruined for you, stay away until you finish the books!

I know I've said it with almost all the other books, but I was looking forward to rereading book four. This book marks a turning point in the a couple of ways. I know a few people who gave up reading the books once they realized how big this one was (why, people, why?). I also know that a lot of parents were worried about the violence and incredibly dark turn this novel takes. Sure, the rest of the novels are heavy and contain deaths of major characters in each of the upcoming books but...those things are necessary to tell the story properly. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I found it interesting, this time around, to notice all the teeny little hints that Rowling gave throughout this book (ok, fine, I've said that before too). But, in the case of this book, a lot of those hints actually had meaning for this particular novel instead of the series as a whole. Sometimes it was just foreshadowing or mentioning something casually that would come up again later. For example, when Harry was at The Burrow, he saw a likeness of Amos Diggory's head in the fireplace (think of it as a magical Skype). He uses that same method of communicating to talk with Sirius later on. A Portkey is used to get to the Quidditch World Cup and a Portkey is what gets Harry to Voldemort at the end of the book. Mrs. Weasley uses a Summoning Charm to get all of the cursed candies Fred and George are trying to smuggle into Hogwarts. Harry uses a Summoning Charm in the first task against the Hungarian Horntail. You see what I mean? It was nice to reread this one and notice all of those little hints throughout. You may think that would take away from the story, reading the hints and actually knowing their significance, but it doesn't!

I had said way back when I read Philosopher's Stone that I wanted to read each book in as few sittings as I could. That didn't happen with Goblet. All of a sudden the last weekend of the month was finished and I still hadn't cracked open the book. So, what resulted was reading the novel in bits and pieces over five days. Not ideal at all. I have a feeling that took away some of my enjoyment of the novel, which is too bad. To avoid this happening again I just have to make a conscious effort to set aside time during a weekend to read the next books. 

Back to the darkness. The first major death happens in this book. And, to make it even more sad, it's a student - Cedric Diggory. I was surprised when I found myself tearing up when I read the scenes when Cedric dies and then when Dumbledore honours him at the Leaving Feast. Even though I knew it was coming, it still hit me hard. Not only does this mark the beginning of many painful deaths, but it also is the beginning of Voldemort's second rise to power. Pardon my French, but that's some scary shit. And the worst and most frustrating part of it all is that the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, doesn't believe Harry or trust Dumbledore's word. Well. Won't he be sorry. 

A couple of other themes (along with the darkness) begin in this book that carry on throughout the rest of the series. First, we finally see how jealous Ron is of Harry (and rightfully so). He thinks Harry put his name in the Goblet because he was looking for more attention. Sure, that seems silly but imagine that you're the best friend of someone super popular, always getting overlooked...oh, and that you're one of many siblings and your family is very poor. You can kind of see where Ron was coming from, right? I hated reading the part where the two boys are fighting and I couldn't help but think of the last book and how a fight almost ruins their friendship forever. In this book we also get a glimpse of a not so heroic part of Harry's personality. A lot of people could tell you that Harry is a whiny, self-absorbed teen and that they don't understand why he's such a beloved character. I'm not one of those people. I can appreciate a flawed hero, even if he is a tad annoying at times (he's quite young in these books, remember). But, I found one of "Moody's" lines to be interesting. He (and by he I mean Barty Crouch Jr. as Moody) says, after wondering why Harry didn't ask everyone he knew for help with the second task, "you have a streak of pride and independence that might have ruined all." (page 588) I'm going to keep an eye on this as I read the rest of the books to see how often that part of his personality is mentioned. Finally, and more happily, this is the first book where we see a bit of an attraction between Ron and Hermione. Well, at least, Ron realizes that Hermione is a girl and has some jealousy that he doesn't know what to do with (again, they're fourteen!). 

How is it that I always manage to write more than I intend to? Amazing. I wish I could include all of the page shots I took of scenes and lines I liked but there are just too many. What I will do is include, once again, my Storify link for this edition of the #HPreread. month's read, Order of the Phoenix, should be a good one. I remember not really enjoying it the first time around so we'll see what I think of it this time!

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