I’ve noticed that while looking through Stone Soup’s book reviews, all the reviews relating to Harry Potter are either of the first book or the whole series (or perhaps of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child). I realize that this is the easier angle to take, however, I would like to write a review discussing one of the middle books from a more stand-alone-like perspective.
Obviously, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, and The Prisoner of Azkaban, books one, two, and three of the series, should be read first. Some things would be very confusing if you didn’t. But, forgetting the end of the book for now, which sort of ends with a tremendous cliff-hanger (I won’t say any more than that), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a very good book in and of itself.
It opens with a mystery of Harry’s scar hurting, and a strange dream. But this is nearly forgotten in the fun of reuniting with Ron and Hermione for the Quidditch World Cup, and Harry is having the time of his life. Then something terrible happens. As a reader, you are just as confused as Harry by the whole situation.
Then, once at Hogwarts, Harry’s name is drawn out of the Goblet of Fire to compete in the triwizard tournament; even though he’s not seventeen. This puts people, his closest friends included, against him, but soon the strangeness of it is forgotten in the intensity of the tournament itself.
The appearance of a house elf at the Quidditch World Cup sets Hermione off in an effort to get fair treatment for house elves. This is a refreshing side-plot during the story, as it brings out a side of Hermione that readers have not yet really seen and takes everyone’s mind off of the triwizard tournament for brief stretches of time.
This sounds like too much is going on; there are too many loose ends. And if you are not familiar with J.K. Rowling’s writing, you may wonder how in the world is she going to manage to tie it all up? But she does.
Another thing that I enjoyed in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was the ending. I am unable to say much, or I will spoil the whole book. But the end of the book, the climax of it all, is Harry’s alone. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry, Ron, and Hermione all help in the end. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, it is Harry and Ron. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it is Harry and Hermione, as Ron is in the hospital with a broken leg. But, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the readers get something that they have not really gotten before: how Harry reacts to an extremely dangerous situation when he is all alone.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Ron and Hermione. Hermione might be my favorite character, because she reminds me largely of myself. However, Harry is the protagonist of the whole series. He needed a fight for himself, and this happens in the fourth book. I appreciate that.
I strongly recommend the Harry Potter series. The books tie wonderfully into each other. But remember, try to think about the book itself, and not just how it fits into the series. It lends a new perspective to the reading.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2000. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!