Saturday, April 25, 2015

Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Why did I pick it up?

Continuation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Again, I don't stop reading a series unless it's gone past 17 books and it's still freaking going with no end in sight. Even then I wait till the remainder of the books come up then finish it. Said 17+ book series I'm waiting on is currently up to 18 planned books with nine short stories in nine different anthologies so no, I am not impressed. There are also THREE other 10+ book series said author is working on, yes, all at once. I kind of wish I never picked up that first book...

ANYWAY. We're talking a nice 7-book series known as Harry Potter. I started this one on February 3rd and finished it on February 8th. Yes it almost took me a week. You'll see why shortly.

The Review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling:

First I have to say: YES! THIS is the book where JK Rowling has evolved as an author. The general pattern is still the same: we see Harry with his foster muggle parents, Harry goes to see Ron, they see something mysterious (wrong place at wrong time syndrome) and Harry has a new challenge to face at school, new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher met, challenge resolved with Harry doing something amazing while breaking some rules, and Harry heading home to his muggle foster parents.

BUT, the mystery aspect in this one is MUCH MORE DEFINED. There are a lot more suspects for why this is happening to Harry and I was surprised when it was revealed. I expected one of two but not the person it actually was then it wasn't actually that person but someone pretending to be that person. It was great.

Also, JK Rowling KILLED HER DARLINGS! She introduced one in the last book then just, BAM, killed him in front of Harry. Was the death needed? Heck yes. Did the death impact Harry? HECK yes. Did the dying character suffer? No, it wasn't long drawn out torture, just the killing curse and done but still. This was a great death and relevant to the story and the books. She also killed someone right in the beginning too: got us to know him and kind of care then knocked him down. Good job.

The way Voldemort comes back and the way everything was planned out by him and his minions was amazing. It was well planned, wonderfully executed, and that ending. This is the writing I've been waiting for as an adult reading younger fiction.

There are still some tweaks needed here and there because it's not entirely believable the Head of the Ministry of Magic won't take a threat like Voldemort seriously. Honestly, I think Fudge not believing Dumbledore and Snape was a bit much.

I do like that Dumbledore doesn't hide anything from the Hogwarts students and tells them flat out Voldemort is back, Harry saw it with his own eyes, and yes, Volty (hehe) killed the character.

I don't believe that Harry can't figure out where Hagrid and the Madame are going. They're half giants Harry, and Voldemort wants the giants on his side (as you heard), where the Hell do you think they're going?

I do like how Harry does suspect Snape might be working as a double agent now. The whole battle scene with Voldemort was kind of, I don't know. If my villain was so horrible and evil then he would've killed Harry outright. Screw talking: he wouldn't even have untied him from the gravestone to give him a fighting chance. It would've been Avada Kedavra and done. I guess Volty learned that lesson the hard way when Harry escaped.

The Goblet of Fire is mentioned one or twice and has a five page or so scene. So it's a catalyst, yes, but I think something else should have been used, like Harry Potter and the Triwizard Tournament. Why? Because the games was the focus of the book. The cup was more of a piece of equipment that could have easily been replaced by anything. I guess Goblet of Fire sounds cooler though.

I also LOVE how we get some backstory on Neville and Harry shows compassion towards the poor kid. We also realize why Neville knows the Cruciastus Curse (crucio) and why he's being raised by his grandmother. I was tearing up at this reveal and I'm so glad Harry went along with Dumbledore's request and didn't tell Hermione and Ron about Neville's parents and that Harry felt that Neville should be the one getting some sympathy from the other students about his parents. As Harry said "Sure, he (Harry) was an orphan but Neville had living parents who could no longer recognize him."

The ending with Harry coming back, the big reveal of who was going all this, and Harry on the train was perfect. I love that Harry, realizing he's a privileged wizard who has money to spare, gives his prize money to Fred and George. It shows who he is as a person. I also love how he wants to save all the hostages in the second task and he's willing to share the prize with Cedric, hell he tells Cedric what the first task is because he doesn't want Cedric to be hurt. This is good character development right here.

Harry doesn't break the rules so much, not to the extent of the other books anyway. Everyone else is breaking the same rules so it's not as horrible when Harry does it which is nice to see. But, one such rule being broken isn't even mentioned: Krum (Quiddich player and competitor against Harry in the Triwizard Tournament) using crucio (illegal to use against other wizards) on Cedric. Harry just kind of forgets to mention it.

With how the last feast goes, I suspect there won't be another new Defense of the Dark Arts Teacher in Hogwarts next year which is nice. It's good to break pattern.

Would I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire again?

Yes, most definitely and I might even do it without reading the books before it.

The Negatives:

The formula, oh God, change it up! Maybe start off when Harry's at the school or something. The time it took for Harry to get from summer to school seemed to be so much longer too but every part was needed or nothing would make sense later. The thing that really bothers me about the whole series is all these former Death Eaters were either imprisoned or given a second chance.

Never mind they conspired with the most evil wizard in history and killed innocent people, we'll totally give 'em a second chance if they give us names. Yeah, no. I honestly don't believe people would do that and I sure as Hell don't believe in second chances when it comes to that. Sure, if show you can be reformed, great. But everyone suspected Malfoy's dad would go back to Voldemort and guess what? He did. Worse yet, they're still letting his kid go to Hogwarts where Harry Potter, you know the person Voldemort wants to kill, lives. Yeah, smart. Go going.

See, if the same events had taken place in any one of my magic-ruled worlds, every one of Voldemort's supporters would have been killed, including the Dementors. I mean, who's bright idea is it to let the Dementors (who would go help Voldemort if he asked) guard the place where Voldemort's henchmen are imprisoned? Where's the sense in that? Kill off the henchmen, especially when you don't see a body for Voldemort and know that even if he does come back, he won't have any support. If the Ministry had done that then maybe all Voldemort would have is Wormtail. And ya can't do much with that guy.

To the 1-star reviews:

Again, Pottermore website. The Hell, Rowling, the Hell? With so many complaints about downloading the book from the site or receiving the wrong copy of the book, being misled on the condition, etc, someone should've looked into this by now.

There are some people saying it's not for kids and well, to each there own. I read IT at 12 and am no worse for wear. I do find it funny that my one cousin let her kid read Harry Potter at 10 but not Hunger Games because there's a lot of killing in both series. Goblet of Fire is where the darkness starts seeping in and yes, it is for a mature audience.

A lot of the people don't seem to get Harry is 14 now. One says he's "suddenly interest in girls especially the fat French girl". Two things: 1) Harry is 14. Yes, he is "suddenly" interested in girl but was interested in Cho when he first met her in the last book. 2) the fat French girl is a watered down version of the Veela who are seductresses by nature in the book. Yeah "suddenly" *snorts*

I also find that I'm the complete opposite when it comes to the series. Everyone thinks 1-3 are totally awesome and 4 sucks where I think 1-3 are okay and four is one of the better ones.

The "TOO LONG" comments are entirely justified especially when the page count in the series goes from 350 to 634. Yeah, the fourth book is MASSIVE compared to the others but rightfully so. There's a lot going on and more mystery involved. Yes the front part was needed because now you know who Krum is and why everyone acts the way they do in the later stages of the book.

I could agree Rita and SPEW weren't really needed as plot elements though it DOES give us a nice insight to Hermione's character. She cares about other people and shows her brilliance by deducing how Rita is finding out all this stuff she shouldn't know.

The "pure evil" villain is a disappointment though. Yes, I get they're villains but their needs to be some sort of justification to their villainy just like Harry needs to have justification in lying, cheating, using illegal curses, etc. I like Harry's not a saint but it bothers me that Voldemort and his posse have NO redeeming characteristics. They're pure evil for the sake of being evil. It bugs me.

There are some spelling mistakes, wrong words, and quotes missing during dialogue which is bothersome. I'm no grammar guru so I can't point it all out but if I'm finding something then an editor reading this might find way more.

Final Review: 3.5/5 for the voracious readers. 3.5/5 for intended audience (darker concepts is the main reason here.)

Until next time: thoughts, comments, rage, rants, questions, and out-right insults can be directed to the comments.

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