Monday, 17 September 2012
Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.
Books aimed at children or the YA market don't usually appeal to me, so I was surprised how much I enjoyed the Harry Potter books, and still do. I first got into it when we went to a midnight showing of the first film and my husband bought me a set of the Harry Potter books for my birthday. There were five then and he didn't know what he'd started! I was hooked and am a big fan and waited eagerly for the last two.
Because I am a fan, it's difficult to write a review without too much gushing, but I have to admit that I loved Goblet of Fire and I re-read it quite a bit. Here, we get to see Harry, Ron and Hermione growing up and navigating the choppy waters of adolescence, with arguments, heartache and facing up to the fact that no one is safe from Voldemort.
Harry and Ron's attempts at finding dates for the Yule Ball were hilarious with just the right tone of akwardness and humour. The romance parts I could take or leave really, but you do feel for Harry when he finally gets up the courage to ask Cho to the ball but she's already going with Cedric. That was very realistic.
There was so much to love about this book - the Triwizard Tournament, Quidditch world cup, dragons, secret discoveries, learning more about the Death Eaters and Voldemort's past. It was a long book but as I was reading it for the first time (before the film came out) I really couldn't see what they should cut. Every scene seemed essential to me, from Ron's old-fashioned dress-robes and his falling out with Harry over being chosen as a champion, to Hermione seeking emancipation for the house-elves. They cut the house-elf storyline for the film, but I loved it in the book and it lets you find out more about Hermione too.
Some of the book is quite light and jolly, like Harry getting to see the Quidditch world cup for the first time and the Yule Ball, but the book sets a darker tone towards the end. I like how things were set up before hand, such as Harry discovering about Portkeys on the way to the world cup and how they play a part much later on. It's like parts of the book have been set out like a giant jigsaw puzzle and it's only as you get near to the end that you see how they all fit together as a whole.
The writing is simplistic, but that same simplicity draws you in and before you know it you've read 200 pages and have to stop because you need some sleep, but really, you just want to keep reading to see what happens next. Even though I've read it before. My husband asks why I re-read things that I've read before and know the story, well for the Harry Potter books, the answer is simple: I love Harry as a character and every time I'm re-reading the books, it's like getting to know a friend all over again. Will I still be re-reading the Harry Potter books in ten years time? I don't know for sure, but I'd like to think so.
The Goblet of Fire is a great, escapist read.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby