I’ve come to the end of Book 4 of the Harry Potter series. Despite too many shady new characters and a rather painful middle section, the introduction and conclusion were absolute highlights of the entire series for me and made it all worth it! AND I LOVE CEDRIC DIGGORY!
Turning the first page and seeing ‘Chapter One: The Riddle House’ made me internally exclaim YAAASSSS! I loved that we immediately got to see the consequences of Peter Pettigrew escaping, and was so happy to not be reading another Dursley-Household story right away. It was the best opening yet, even if Voldermort was basically a wet piece of scrambled egg sitting in a chair and barking orders. Truly intimidating. (Also, totally expected Nagini to be a cow when Voldy mentioned milking him. In hindsight, a snake is maybe a more appropriate pet for the Dark Lord).
I’ve realised Quidditch itself doesn’t interest me at all and is something I could happily go without, but I have to admit the dynamic between the Weasleys kept things interesting throughout the Quidditch World Cup. It’s taken 4 books for that family to grow on me, but I confess, they have. The whole business with the Dark Mark and the Death Eaters (great name) was brilliant and exciting, and as soon as another school was mentioned I knew it would be explored further.
That’s something I love about these books, nothing seems to be pointless – another school is mentioned, and then properly introduced. Port Keys are introduced, and then become a plot twist at the end of the book. Even the Quidditch World Cup was excellent foreshadowing for the Triwizard Tournament. Harry saw the World Cup and thought about how much he wanted to be on the pitch, wanted to be a star, and then a while later he’s living out his fantasy as a contestant in the Tournament. Nice one!
Speaking of which, the Triwizard Tournament was an amazing concept and I loved the way Harry found himself entered into it. It sure makes us Muggles look boring with our Eurovision, eh? Ron falling out with Harry over getting a place in the Tournament was such unnecessary melodrama – GET OVER IT RON; YOU’RE A SIDEKICK, KNOW YOUR PLACE!!! Ron is the only character to have me liking him one chapter and then detesting him the next. I may not have liked him then, but him and Harry faking their Divination homework was actually really funny. Harry’s definitely getting sassier the older he gets and is less afraid to fight back against adults and speak his mind – probably picking that up from Hermione.
Hermione was, as usual, on point in this book. I don’t quite understand the importance of her crusade for House-Elf rights despite a bit of character development, and I was very suspicious of her when she was eating fast and running off to the library – I thought, if this bitch is messing with a time turner again I swear to God… But she wasn’t, she was a great friend to Harry when the school turned against him after he was entered into the Tournament, and she was the one who pushed Harry to write to Sirius and tell him what was going on. She’s sensible, switched on, and Harry’s lucky to have a friend like her. Particularly when you think of how she was treated in the Prisoner of Azkaban, it’s a wonder she’s not gone off to party with Parvati Patil and said so long to Harry and Ron – how could they not ask her to the Yule Ball? Speaking of the Ball, I’m impressed we basically made it to Book 4 without much talk of romance at all. Here’s hoping Book 5 doesn’t revolve around sex education classes led by Professor McGonagall… <Shudder>
The Goblet of Fire more than any other book felt like I was introduced to a bucket load of new characters, all of whom seemed shady as Hell. I felt particularly suspicious of Mad-Eye Moody – did he remind anyone else of Dr N. Gin from the Crash Bandicoot games? Just me? OK then.
I liked Fleur Delacour, and Rita Skeeter was interesting yet infuriating. I thought Lockhart was annoying; he’s got nothing on her! Her story didn’t seem to go anywhere though, and while it was comical that she was a bug animagus, it all just felt a bit… Anti climactic. Meanwhile, my favourite Regular-Sized Rudy returned – I was so happy to see more of Neville Longbottom! Reading about his parent’s backstory made me love him even more, I just want to give him a hug!
I was also really happy to see Dumbledore taking a more active role in this book. He’s effortlessly powerful, like the Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel but without the sexy outfits, and if anyone’s going to sort everything out and tie it all together in a neat little bow it’s blatantly going to be him, all while sipping a cup of tea and not breaking a sweat. You keep doing you, Dumbledore.
The middle of this book did drag for me, though. After a really exciting first task in the Triwizard Tournament, task two felt like a let down and was a bit boring. I started to lose patience with too many mysteries, and just didn’t care at all about the storyline between Bagman and Crouch. I was second-guessing every character – seems like if you don’t have something to hide at Hogwarts you’re not allowed in. I found it hard to keep track of who was being shady about what, and by the end just didn’t care at all that Professor Moody turned out to be Crouch’s son in disguise. Yawn.
As far as I’m concerned the star of this book was Cedric Diggory. He grew on me so quickly, and annoyingly I was catching up on Season 3 of Orange is the New Black at the same time. Out of nowhere, the characters in it had a conversation about not wanting to end up ‘like Cedric Diggory who died in the Triwizard Tournament’… NOOO ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This is the trouble with finally reading a famous book series; you never know where spoilers are going to pop up.
Knowing something bad was going to happen just made me even sadder when I realised how much I liked Cedric. The end of the third task was incredible, Rowling did a fantastic job of making him seem noble and heroic. But I knew it was the end of the cup, and I knew he had to die soon, and I genuinely didn’t want to keep reading, as though if I stopped reading he would stay alive. And then two pages later it happened. Click here to see a screenshot of messages showcasing my live-reaction to Cedric’s death – safe to say I was very sad! And really don’t like Peter Pettigrew.
After that though, the entire Graveyard scene was the best section of the series so far. Voldemort was AMAZING! I love him! In the best way you can love an evil tyrant, of course. He’s back, he’s menacing and intimidating, his build up was so worth it and I already want more. That long-awaited duel between him and Harry was brilliant, although how awkward that Voldemort failed to kill Harry in front of all of the Death Eaters. I bet Harry escaped with the port key and Voldemort just turned around to them all, shrugged, and said, “…Whoops.”
The Prisoner of Azkaban overall felt like a better story, but the conclusion to Goblet of Fire was amazing. I’m finding myself really wanting to watch the films now and see how scenes like the Graveyard were handled, but want to hold off until I’ve finished the books if possible. I feel like this book has ended with me on the tip of a roller coaster and I’m about to plummet – I cannot wait for book 5! Sirius is getting in touch with Lupin, Dumbledore’s hatching a plan, Snape is still annoying but might become a spy which is interesting, Voldemort’s back… Everything is about to kick off! Please can we drop the whole ‘new shady Dark Arts teacher every book’ thing, though?
For my end of book four checkpoint, I’m liking Dumbledore, Voldemort, and an honourable mention to Cedric Diggory. I didn’t like Mr Crouch, Ludo Bagman, or Karkaroff – here’s hoping they’re done with for the series.
My burning questions (though please don’t answer these and spoil anything for me in the comments below!) are:
- – What is Voldemort going to do now he’s back?!
- – What is Snape going to do?
- – WHAT IS DUMBLEDORE GOING TO DO, WHAT’S THE PLAN? AHH!
As for questions I’d be curious for you to answer:
- – Did you enjoy the Crouch/Bagman stuff?
- – This book feels like the tipping point for a shift of tone for the series, am I right? Do you prefer the first or second half?
- – Who do you wish you’d seen more of in this book? I kind of missed McGonagall.