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Sunday, June 24, 2007

cover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts and the revival of the Triwizard Tournament. The names of the school champions are magically selected by the fiery goblet of the title, and, of course, somehow Harry ends up getting selected-- even though he's younger than the age limit, and the three champions have already been selected. As Harry muddles through his tournament tasks as best he can (and with lots of help from friends), unaware that there is a traitor at Hogwarts, although he is suspicious that Voldemort is getting stronger and strange things are happening at the Ministry of Magic. Re-reading the book and knowing who the impostor is the whole way through makes it quite interesting-- it almost strains credulity that someone could keep up that guise for so long, but not quite. And the resemblance between extremes of good and evil is even clearer.

If you haven't read this book yet (or at least seen the movie), perhaps you shouldn't keep reading, because I'm going to write about what interested me most: the idea of this traitor keeping up appearances and pretending to be someone else for an entire school year. Perhaps Crouch's job was simplified by the fact that Moody was such a shifty, jumpy, suspicious man anyway. The moments that rang most true for me were when Crouch said or did something Moody would have done, although for different reasons. It made me think about those similarities (even if only on the surface) between good and evil, which are pointed out explicitly in Crouch Sr., who became so harsh in his treatment of Voldemort's followers that he approached the cruelty and abuse of power of Voldemort himself. At one point, the faux Moody says something like "there's nothing I hate more than a Death Eater that went free"-- not because they weren't punished for their deeds, but because they weren't loyal to their master.

I also wondered about Crouch using the unforgivable curses on his students. He claims he has permission from Dumbledore to teach them the worst that they can expect, and to learn how to resist it-- and, whether he means to or not, he really does Harry a favor by teaching him to resist the Imperius. It's within the realm of believability that Moody would do this, but when I think of Crouch doing it, I can't help but imagine he got a sick satisfaction from torturing the students he was supposed to be teaching and protecting.

It's fun to see Harry making his ways through the challenging tasks of the tournament. He has help from friends (and one enemy), but that has always been the case, especially with Ron and Hermione. He even does the incredible, and stands up to Voldemort in the flesh-- although, again, he has help. One of the things that makes Cedric's death even more heartbreaking (on top of Voldemort's callous disposal of that for which he has no use) is Harry's sense that it is his fault-- he was trying to do something decent and generous in sharing the victory with Cedric, and instead Cedric was killed.

Read in about four days.

Title:Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author:J. K. Rowling
Date published:2000
Genre:Children's Fantasy
Series:Harry Potter
Number of pages:734
Notes:second reading


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