Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is not an easy year. Harry has to face dragons, a dangerous competition, mazes, a reborn Lord Voldemort…and the Yule Ball!

The fourth volume in the developing series reunites us with the usual cast of characters – headlined by Harry, Ron and Hermione – as the continue with the magical education, and just growing up. Although some of the usual activities of the school year, such as quidditch, are missing from this volume, there is the advent of a new competition, the Tri-Wizard Cup, a feat of magical skill and personal character that pits the school champion of three different wizarding schools (hence the name) against each other in a series of tasks spread across the school year, to make up for the absence of the favourite school sport. Harry’s entry into the competition, as a fourth and unexpected participant, sits at the heart of this volume and the developing storyline.

The other very enjoyable feature of this volume is the extended presentation of the summer period before school starts again. It is wonderful to see Harry and the other significant characters outside of the Hogwarts setting and ‘enjoying’ themselves. The opportunity for Harry, in particular, is significant, and it is important again to the developing storyline of his place in the magical community. That it contributes to the unfolding story of Harry and the magical community, and the struggle between dark and light, between good and evil, is a bonus.

The continuing development of the characters, the understanding of the magical world (as opposed to the muggle world) and the grand narrative of the return of the Dark Lord, Voldemort, is very well executed by J.K. Rowling, as it has been in the preceding volumes of the series. The recording from Stephen Fry contributes to both the enjoyment and understanding of the text. It has been a joy to listen to the audiobook version of this volume as a way of revisiting something I read with great delight and anticipation when it first appeared.

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