The fourth installment to the Harry Potter series, the Goblet of Fire is likely the first volume with real, major action in it due to the Triwizard Tournament. It is also the last installment where Harry is still a carefree teenaged wizard before the return of Lord Voldemort.
The novel starts off with Harry preparing to attend the Quidditch World Cup with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, and Ron’s family the Weasleys. It’s the first time we are introduced to Ron’s two older brothers, Bill and Charlie, and see more wizards and witches beyond those at Hogwarts and Diagon Alley. Harry is truly happy; he’s with people he loves, attending a sport he adores. But there everything goes wrong with Death Eaters show up and the Dark Mark appears over the field.
Things calm down as the school year begins. Only this isn’t a typical school year. Readers are introduced to more schools of wizardry, the Beaubatons and Durmstrang schools who bring students to participate in the Triwizard Tournament alongside Hogwarts. As a rule, only students 17 and older can submit their name to compete. But what kind of Harry Potter novel would this be if somehow Harry doesn’t find himself a contestant? The only problem is Harry never submitted his name! And the only people who really believe him are Dumbledore and Hermione; even Ron thinks Harry tricked his way into the tournament. To make things worse, there’s no way for Harry to get out of the tournament.
For those who have read the novel (or seen the movie), you already know that Harry successfully makes his way through the tournament tasks. But seeing as this is the middle novel in a series of seven, this is where things really heat up as Lord Voldemort returns. Now Harry’s problems are far larger than an average teen wizard’s.
While not my favorite novel in the series, I really enjoyed Goblet of Fire. We start to really see what the wizarding world is like beyond the borders of the UK. We also start to see Harry really excel in some forms of magic as he must master spells he is academically too young for in order to survive the tournament. He does this, of course, with the help of Hermione. This is also the novel where we begin to see how teen impulses can oftentimes override good judgement as the students now find themselves attracted to the opposite gender.
Overall, I find Goblet of Fire a really fun read. I thoroughly enjoyed my reread of it after all these years. I also find the movie slightly more disappointing as many of my favorite book scenes were left out – understandably for time’s sake. Still, rereading the books makes me wish more that someone would develop a television mini-series of the books. This would encompass more of the little nuances of the story that give it life.
My rating: 4/5