There is something so magical about reading Harry Potter–whether I’m a kid or a mom. I just love these books. I realized this week was the last one in September (crazy!) and I needed to read the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the end of the month. Well, it was easy to read that 700+ page book in only a few days. I love Harry Potter!
My first experience with this book – This book was the first Harry Potter book that I went to a book release day party for. It was magical. I also won a copy of the book from the publisher. I was born to be a book blogger, right? 🙂 I remember being so excited about how big this book was. And I remember being surprised by how many people die in this book. Let’s be honest, I still cry a bit when Cedric dies. Don’t grab the cup, Cedric! I remember the Yule Ball and the Quidditch World Cup being favorite moments in this book. I would love to attend both.
What surprised me this time – How much I loved this book. Don’t get me wrong, I remember liking it quite a bit. But I loved all the details with the tournament, the daily classroom antics, and Hermione’s attempts to help the house elves. I was surprised how much time passes in this novel. Yes, I know every book covers one year of school. But you actually feel it passing in this one with the tasks and classes and holidays. The movie doesn’t do that justice (it would have to be a much longer movie to include all the details). I also was surprised by how many details I caught that become important in later books. Voldemort alludes to his horcruxes, Dumbledore refers to Snape’s important tasks ahead, and Fudge wants change at Hogwarts. I wonder when J. K. Rowling knew how the whole series would end. Was it now?
A few thoughts on genre – This book shifts the tone and intensity of the series for me. First, its almost twice the size of the first three books. Second, it feels a lot darker. The size wasn’t much of a hindrance to me. Harry Potter books read so quickly that it was easy to breeze through the book. But I hadn’t noticed before how much darker this book is. The rebirth of Lord Voldemort is actually a bit graphic and super intense. And the Death Eaters at the World Cup are pretty scary. Plus, we actually witness death in this book. This is a book I would wait to have my kids read until they’re a bit older. Now, I don’t think these are bad qualities. In fact, I love the sizes of the books and I appreciate that Rowling will kill off characters. And from here, the books only get more intense and stay big. 🙂
Who I love most in this book –I really love Cedric Diggory. He is such a good person–loyal friend, fair competitor, and hard working champion. Still hope everytime that he won’t die. I love Viktor Krum because he is complex. He is a world famous seeker but he is also quiet and nervous around Hermione. I love Dumbledore because we get to see more of his skill and his past. I love his witty banter and his genius explanations for everything. Also love how loyal he is to Harry and that he believe Harry right off. Looking forward to more of him in later books. I love Sirius because he is a father figure in this book. Love that he comes back to support Harry and how protective he is after the maze. And I love that we get to meet the entire Weasley family in this book. They are such a crazy, awesome group and I want to be related to them. Finally, I love Mad-Eye Moody. Yes, its not actually him but wow is he hilarious and crazy and confusing. And he turns Malfoy into a ferret. How can you not love him?
How I see Harry, Ron, and Hermione changing – I love the journey that Hermione goes on in this novel. She starts as her usual bookish self. But by the end, she has helped Harry learn all sorts of new spells and hexes (sometimes at the cost of her studying), she has kind-of-dated Krum (and gained a lot of self confidence because of it), and she starts standing up for herself in many situations (love how she captures Rita Skeeter!). Hermione is such a great role model and I love her character in this book. Ron drives me crazy when he isn’t speaking to Harry and I love him when he is jealous of Krum. I think I identify more with Ron because he is average and is trying to be a good friend while not being too jealous. Of course, Harry is starting to discover that his connection with Lord Voldemort is only going to get increasingly complicated. But he also grows a lot in this book. He is able to overcome intense tasks with his own knowledge and courage. And I think we start to see the divide between Harry and Voldemort–how Harry can escape him and surprise him because of light and good.
What I learn from this book – Courage is standing up for what you know is right for who you love. Harry chooses to fight rather than hide from Voldemort because of his friends and family. Sirius risks his freedom by returning to protect Harry. Don’t trust everything you read or hear. I think Rita Skeeter does a perfect job of showing us that stories can be made up or exaggerated. Plus, Ron and Harry could have skipped their whole fight if they had just believe each other. Appearances can be deceiving. Barty Crouch Jr. does a fine job of impersonating Moody–until he takes Harry away. Then Dumbledore follows them and everything is revealed. Fear is a powerful weapon, but so is hope. I forgot how ridiculous Minister Fudge is about Voldemort coming back. And I love how Dumbledore can bring hope to a seemingly hopeless situation.
How I would teach this book in a class – First, I think it would be interesting to compare the four champions of the tournament. How are they similar and different? Why do you think Fleur and Krum ultimately do not win the tournament? Next, I think it would be fun to compare Hermione’s campaign to free the house elves with one in our Muggle world. How is her campaign different? Can she actually gain equality for house elves, why or why not? Last, I would like to compare the different encounters Harry has with Voldemort through the first 4 books. How are they similar and different? Why can Voldemort never kill Harry (besides the fact that we have 3 more books)? How has Harry changed because of these encounters?
Finally, a few favorite quotes from this book. As always, I think Harry Potter books are full of wonderful wisdom and insights.
I really enjoyed this reread and highly recommend this series (of course!). Don’t get intimidated by the big books. They are worth it!
This post is part of my Harry Potter Marathon 2016 from June-December 2016. I will read and review one Harry Potter book each month. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments and read along with me!