Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire - J. K. Rowling

I've been re-reading the Harry Potter series, and since I didn't post reviews of the first four, I'm reviewing them this time around. Book Four is the one that could have been titled "Harry Potter and the Increasingly Hefty Sequels." At well over 700 pages, it's a pretty substantial jump from the first three, and it's one that the book jacket calls "pivotal," though whether that's because of the plot or just because it's the middle book of seven is unclear. (To be sure, it's not as long as Book Five, which not only adds about 150 pages but also reduces the font size.)

There's just a whole lot going on in this book. There's quite a bit that happens before Harry even gets to school this time, with the Quidditch World Cup (does this only happen every so many years?) and the appearance of the Death Eaters. Then, at school, we learn about the Tri-Wizard Tournament and meet some students from other wizarding schools. Rowling finally acknowledges that there are in fact non-British wizards, with their own traditions and schools. Hermione takes up the cause of house-elfs with the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. (Though how somebody as brainy as Hermione would have come up with the acronym SPEW is beyond me.) This year's Dark Arts teacher is Mad-Eye Moody, and once again there's a plot against Harry with various twists and misleading clues.

It's a fun read, but I can't help thinking that some of the subplots could have been omitted without too much difficulty. Also, the "previously on..." section fills almost an entire chapter this time while Rowling explains the tricky plot twists from Book Three. And finally, we have not one but two villain monologues at the end, because even after everything plays out, you still need a lot of help putting all the pieces together. (Not to mention Dumbledore's own explanation to fill in some gaps.) Altogether, it feels a little bit like Rowling was trying to cram a bit too much into one book, and it ends up being feeling a little more sluggish than the first few volumes.

Fed to jonathan's brain | May 24, 2007 | Comments (0)


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