Saturday, February 22, 2014

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling, takes us into Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  And I think you know by now that Harry and his friends will never have a normal school year.  The book starts us off at the end of the summer, when Harry is invited to go with Ron's family to see the Quidditch World Cup, the biggest sporting event of the wizarding world.  I mean, he plays on one of the school teams, so he can't NOT go.  The game is very exciting, but nothing compared to the events occurring during the night after the game is over:  although rather than a joyful excitement, it is the kind of excitement which involves a lot of screaming in terror and running for your life.  It seems some of Lord Voldemort's old supporters have decided to use this mass gathering of witches and wizards as an opportunity to have their own kind of fun, which is the opposite of fun for everyone who is not a total asshole.

By the time the kids are all back at school, shit has already been on a slippery slope to getting Real, but no one seems too concerned about it yet because everyone is all kinds of busy with the resurrection of the Triwizard Tournament, an international competition between students of various schools of magic that unfortunately resulted in the deaths of many of its competitors.  And although the ministry has claimed to do its best to keep the mortal danger to a minimum for this one, it seems someone is hoping against that, because someone has put Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire, the magical item responsible for selecting the champion who will be representing each school in the tournament.  I don't know why the idea of someone actively wanting Harry dead should come as any kind of a surprise for him or his friends or anyone who knows him, really, since he has been the victim of conspiracy and attempted murder in all his previous years at this school, too.  But anyway, having your name come out of this goblet is a magical and binding contract, so Harry has no choice but to compete, and the professors and government officials have no choice but to allow it.  

Every time I read this book, I remember how much better I like it than the movie, even though the movie is also pretty good.  There is just SO much that the movie leaves out (shocker):  Hermione's newest obsession with house elves and their apparent lack of civil rights; certain major characters such as Ludo Bagman; the movie turns Beauxbatons and Durmstrang into single-sex schools, while in the book they were co-ed, just like Hogwarts; the older Weasley siblings make absolutely no appearance in the movie at all; the entire side-plot about Hermione's personal vendetta against Rita Skeeter is also completely left out of the film.  There's tons more that's left out or changed completely, as well.

Another thing that always irritates me about the film version of this book is that by this time in the films, they've already made Hermione Hollywood-pretty.  Only in the first movie does she have her huge, bushy, frizzy hair.  She's also supposed to have braces or some kind of a retainer and teeth that are kind of big.  But starting in the second film, her hair is more wavy and smooth, not a giant mane of frizz.  So the whole "OMG" transformation when they see her at the Yule Ball isn't really a transformation at all in the movie.  They also made Krum a lot more handsome than he was described in the book.  But whatever I guess.  

Anyway, so even though this is not really my favorite of the series, I still absolutely enjoyed re-reading it; it is quite action-packed, and there is much more intrigue than in the movie, since the movie dumbs down a lot of the mystery for everyone by throwing hints around that just do not exist in the book.  I also still cry like an idiot when I get to the graveyard scene.  Every. Time.  If you have read this, I'm sure you understand why.  If you haven't read it, but have seen the movie, I guess you might have an idea, but you really should read the book, because the entire story makes so much more sense in the way Rowling actually wrote it rather than how it was adapted for the screen, and the continued world-building is so much more rich as well.

I'm really looking forward to re-reading Order of the Phoenix next...Luna is one of my absolute favorite characters of the entire series, and though her surname is mentioned in a passing in Goblet of Fire, we don't actually meet Luna yet until the fifth installment.




Series Info:  What came before this book? What's next?
Harry Potter
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)
* Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5)

Film Adaptations:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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