- Author J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter’s fourth outing was, if I recall correctly, my favourite on my first pass at reading them. On this re-read, so far, I think that is true once again. It’s also borne out by the fact the book is fifth on my Big Read list, whereas the others are nestled somewhere around twenty or so. (I’m also intrigued that only the first four are on the list, I guess people think this is the pinnacle and it went rapidly downhill after that.)
There’s a lot to love about the book, despite the fact it opened the doors to Rowling turning the HP books from small and manageable children’s books, to massive long investments of time. Although this was the first of the books to be relatively very long, almost all of it is relevant. Even at the beginning, when Hermione is hurrying about talking of protecting the house elves. It feels like a waste of time because there are more important things to be getting on with, but it isn’t. It’s important. Harry’s relationship with characters that have previously been minor plays a big role in him getting through this year’s tournament.
Ah, the Triwizard Tournament. I always feel like it’s a bit drawn out when Harry’s name finally appears in the goblet. He could easily just have been the Hogwart’s representative, but it’s probably better the way it is. It would have been too predictable. A fourth name, whilst not completely believable in terms of the rules of the tournament and the magic surrounding the goblet, makes the rest of the competition far more interesting.
Other things I like about the book - there’s the beginnings of romantic attachments, with Harry’s feelings for a rival house member, and the constant bickering between Ron and Hermione. The Quidditch World Cup is so easily forgotten by the end, but is still a real treat. There’s also the fabulous jab at the media in the form of hideous journalist Rita Skeeter.
This is clearly the turning point for the series, death is no longer just talked about, it is right in front of us. The horrors that occurred in history are now back in the present day, and the status quo is teetering on the edge of collapse. As the book ends, it’s just a matter of waiting to see what happens next, and the speed with which I read through this shows I’m quite keen to find out!