The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these; however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march…
In my opinion, Goblet of Fire is potentially the best book of the series. I love the intensity of the tasks of the Triwizard Tournament and the beginning of the danger that’s coming ever closer as Voldemort regains his strength.
The book opens with some of my favourite scenes. The Weasleys ‘dropping in’ to the Dursleys’ to collect Harry and the chaos that ensues is hilarious. The Dursleys are terrified of the non-conforming appearance of the Weasley family, and Mr Weasley, with his love of muggles is completely oblivious to this. Ton-Tongue Toffee incident, as well, need I say more?!
The Quidditch World Cup chapter is also brilliant. The description of the magical tents, the atmosphere in the wizard campsite and the match itself make me long for magic to be real. If Quidditch was a real sport I would definitely go to watch – it would be AMAZING!
Then, when Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts, they learn that another exciting wizarding event is also taking place this year: The Triwizard Tournament. They think it will be a chance to make new friends, and to watch some exciting tasks…until Harry’s name comes out of the Goblet of Fire too. I think Rowling writes Ron’s reaction to this perfectly. His jealousy of Harry, which he has suppressed for three years, finally comes to a head. But in true Ron fashion, he comes round eventually and realises what an important friend Harry is to him.
The tasks themselves are tense and gripping. Fighting a nesting dragon, diving to the bottom of a lake, and solving a maze full of magical tasks isn’t exactly what you’d class as a normal year at school. I think that’s why I love this book so much. There is so much action, and demonstration of magic at its best.
The final scene in the graveyard is a major turning point for the series. There is the first important character death (RIP Cedric) and Voldemort is finally back. You know from now on the books are not going to be the same. They will have much darker undercurrents as the war between good and evil begins again.
We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.
(P. S. I would have mentioned Mad-Eye Moody, but I’d rather leave that until later in the series, when it is actually him!)