This is one seriously long book! As much as I love the story–this is my third time through and I’m delighted all over again because my brain just doesn’t retain details–one of my few complaints is that it is so long. I know more than one kid who has balked at its length. Personally, because of the age and attention span of the audience, I would have deleted much of the first 150 pages. But then, Rowling has sold millions of copies, and I’ve sold, well, ah, less than that, so what do I know? Yet, the magic of Harry Potter, the magic of Hogwarts…I can’t help but scrap my way through all 734 pages and immediately grab that next book. The series is truly of stick-to-your-fingers quality.
In this one, the Tri-Wizard Tournament takes place at Hogwarts with contestants from three international schools of wizardry, the first contest in hundreds of years due to the high mortality rate of its contestants. But this one is under Dumbledore’s care. Nevertheless, an age limit is enforced. No student under age 17 need apply. Yet, unexplainably, Harry’s name pops out of the Goblet of Fire and he’s obligated to compete. Needless to say, someone has it in for Harry. Any guesses who? Of course we all know, yet the intrigue and curves Rowling throws us keep us entertained and guessing.
As always, I love the wonderfully imaginative and kid-pleasing details that fill the book. Imagine camping in a tent that’s bewitched so the inside is a three-room apartment! Or taking a bite out of a candy and turning into a canary. Or having drinking potions that really make steam pour from your ears. Or being hit with a Jelly-Legs Jinx. Or–yikes!–tending to blast-ended skrewts. And I must say, I’d love to own the swimming pool bathtub in the prefects’ bathroom with its 100 spouts and multicolored bubbles.
I also have to mention the food! Thanks to a worthy staff of house elves, students eat like kings at Hogwarts. The books are replete with tasty dishes like roast turkey, treacle tarts, chocolate éclair’s, eggs and sausages and bacon, pasties, chops, potatoes, veggies, roast chicken, meat pies, sauces, sandwiches, donuts, ice cream and such a wonderful assortment of candies I could write a whole page just on those. Sometimes I have to get up and cook something while I’m reading just by the power of suggestion. In fact, for my last Harry Potter movie night, I tried a recipe for butterbeer. Loved it!
But The Goblet of Fire isn’t all feasts and fun. It details Voldemort’s resurrection, and that’s not pretty. There is a tremendous darkness to this villain that gives the book a depth it wouldn’t have without him, but it’s also pretty creepy. His return only comes about after a particularly nasty spell, and it ends with the emotional death of a student we’ve come to love. Again, I emphasize a 12+ reading age. The book also contains about ten mild but so unnecessary profanities. And while I’m griping, I might as well admit to one weak link in the final outcome’s revelation that bothers me, that of Bertha Jorkins disappearance and an extremely unlikely coincidence. But overall, I rate The Goblet of Fire highly.
My other Harry Potter reviews: