After taking a bit of a break following Prisoner of Azkaban, the Harry Potter reread continues! I was wondering whether rereading the books at this stage of my life would change some of the opinions I formed as a kid, but nope! I’m still not the biggest fan of Goblet of Fire, though it’s Harry Potter, so of course I still love it.
Goblet of Fire started off on the most excellent note with Dudley and the Ton-Tongue Toffee. Seriously, that scene is among my favorite in the entire series, both in terms of what happens and how Rowling tells the story:
[Harry] stepped into the fire, looking over his shoulder as he said, “The Burrow!”; his last fleeting glimpse of the living room was of Mr. Weasley blasting a third ornament out of Uncle Vernon’s hand with his want, Aunt Petunia screaming and lying on top of Dudley, and Dudley’s tongue lolling around like a great slimy python.
Such great imagery! And like the other Harry Potter books, I love Fred and George and how much they make fun of Percy, who is perfectly pompous and irritating in this book, what with his cauldron bottoms and being Crouch’s assistant.
“I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.”
“Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.
“That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!”
“It was,” Fred whispered to Harry, as they got up from the table. “We sent it.”
I also really liked how the world expanded to more of an international level and how you got to see all of the wizards come together and of course be introduced to Beauxbatons and Durmstrang with the Triwizard Tournament. I wish we could have learned even more about the wizarding community as a whole, but of course that didn’t really work for this story. But I enjoyed what we got!
Speaking of the Triwizard Tournament, I loved reading this book right before Christmas because the description of Christmas at Hogwarts in honor of the Yule Ball is absolutely magical. It’s definitely reinforcing my choice for the ‘Tis the Season Book Tag to go to Hogwarts for Christmas!
And Dobby is back! I actually like him a lot more in Goblet of Fire, I think in part because he’s no longer a slave and is allowed to be much more himself. And his outfit is great!
Also, this book has one of my favorite scenes ever with Malfoy, the amazing, bouncing ferret. I feel like I should be horrified that a teacher did that to a student, but also, could it have happened to a better student?
And can I say what a perfectly horrid character Rita Skeeter is? Like, obviously Umbridge is the biggest villain of the non-Voldemort characters, but Rita Skeeter is pretty awful, too. I absolutely hated seeing her poke her nose where it didn’t belong and fabricating stories to fit her narrative and make things terrible for Harry and Hermione.
On a side note, journalism ethics and fact checking and editors are very much a thing, so while I loved to hate Rita Skeeter, I’m also confused as to how she was ever able to print the things she did in the wizarding world’s go-to news source. Like, in a tabloid, sure, but the Daily Prophet should have had a proper newsroom and never let some of the things go to print that Rita Skeeter wrote. It’s interesting because that’s something I never cared about when initially reading the Harry Potter series, but since I worked as a reporter for a few years since the last time I read Goblet of Fire, it’s something I notice now.
It was interesting reading Goblet of Fire knowing that Cedric will later become a martyr and very beloved part of the series, because he really isn’t that major of a character. He seemed like a good guy, though, and I was devastated by the scene in the graveyard. If I’m honest, it might be more because Harry’s parents appeared than because of Cedric, but still.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when Dumbledore figures out what’s going on and reveals Moody as Barty Crouch Jr. While the foreshadowing in this book got old (more on that later), I really liked seeing all of the pieces fall into place and the whole plan with Crouch revealed. It’s such a shame that he wasn’t able to testify, and omg do I want to throttle Fudge! I forgot just how irritating he can be.
While I did generally enjoy Goblet of Fire (it’s Harry Potter, of course I enjoyed it), I do have to admit that this book got a little long for me. I had to put it down and read something else before coming back to it because I think there were a few too many things going on and the pace suffered for it. I definitely think it could have been shorter, which is making me a little hesitant to pick of Order of the Phoenix in its 870-page glory.
I also felt like Rowling really hit you over the head with the foreshadowing in this book! I really enjoyed the little hints and clues in the first three books that were setting the stage for events either later in the book or later in the series, but Rowling lost all subtlety with her foreshadowing in this book. It sometimes made it really difficult to read because she was always reminding you of what was coming at the end of the book. It makes me wonder how I ever read this book without being able to figure it out on my own because it was so heavy handed.
And as you see the wizarding world greatly expand in Goblet of Fire, parts of the worldbuilding start to fall apart for me and became slightly frustrating. For instance, I’m not sure the Weasleys’ poverty makes sense in the magical world. Like, if they can fix everything with spells and conjure up food at will, then why are they considered poor? Why can’t they just use magic to get everything they want and upgrade what they have? What are the rules?! There seems to be some limitations, otherwise why would Diagon Alley exist for wizards to purchase items at? But I think the rules of magic could be better defined.
Also, Ron is still annoying me. I guess I can understand his jealousy of Harry, but like, he knows Harry. If he’d just stop and think for a second, he’d know that Harry didn’t enter himself in the Triwizard Tournament, and if he did, he would have told Ron about it and probably included him. He was just very frustrating and I wanted to smack him since Harry was pretty much alone except for Hermione. Who, speaking of, deserved better than the way Ron treated her. I’ll admit it was funny when Ron suddenly realizes Hermione is a girl, but like, come on. Are you that dense? And why is it so unacceptable for Krum to be interested in her? Stop being such an idiot Ron!
So yeah, there were a few things I wasn’t the biggest fan of in Goblet of Fire, but then again, this has never been my favorite book in the series. Because I found Harry Potter right after the fourth book came out, I reread the first four too many times to count, and Goblet of Fire was always in third place ahead of Chamber of Secrets.
Moving into the second half of the series gets a little murkier since I haven’t reread those books nearly as many times. Like I said, I’m a little intimidated right now by the length of Order of the Phoenix, but I remember generally liking it a lot. And Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows weren’t my favorites, but I still liked them better than Goblet of Fire and Chamber of Secrets. So we’ll see how those impressions hold up on this reread.
Where does Goblet of Fire stack up in the series for you? What’s your favorite part about this book? Let me know in the comments!