Harry Potter 4: In Focus
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
When I first read this book, I was by far, really pissed by the fact that Harry seems to always get away the trouble he seems to be penchant of. While reading the details of the Triwizard tournament, I had this irritating feeling against Harry for being “heroic” or if there is such a thing, “too protaganist” – as if all the luck in the world fell on his boots after he was cursed with the Avada Kedavra and he simply has to sway it over to his liking to make things fall into place. But by far, nothing has been more adventurous and magical amongst the books than this (at least since the first, because I would say, the 6th is the most action-packed book amongst the series).
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire unusually starts with a murder that portrays Voldermort’s life – that of attachment with Nagini (snake) and that of servitude from the escaped Peter Pettigrew (Wormtail) from the previous book. The murder of Bertha Jorkins and Frank, the caretaker is to be revealed through the pages of the book, as the prior was the key to Voldermort’s plan of being reborn and taking his “revenge” against Harry Potter.
The book progressed to a Harry Potter being awakened by a dream that is exactly the same as the events portrayed on the previous chapter, and a prickling or rather, “burning” scar that seems to ignite fear in him, as the last time his scar hurt, was the time when he was facing Voldermort himself. As such, he debated on who to tell (Ron and Hermione, amongst the first of his list) and decided to tell Sirius, who replied later with a concerned note and an eventual return to somewhere near Hogwarts.
As implied on the previous book, this summer was also the Quidditch World Cup and Ron has already invited Harry. Mrs Wealey, on the other hand, opted to be formal by sending an invitation by postal mail – where she sent the letter by pasting stamps on almost the entire envelope and squeezing the name and address on a small area. Uncle Vernon was not delighted but whenever Harry implies that he has close contact with his godfather (an escaped convict to Uncle Vernon’s eyes), Sirius, Uncle Vernon simply seems to give in. Ron also sent a letter to Harry around the same time using his new pet, Pidwidgeon (“Pig”).
Harry, who didn’t have a clue how he the Weasleys will pick him up for the Quidditch World Cup was as surprised as Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley when Mr. Weasley, Ron, Fred and George, were suddenly crammed up behind the boarded-up fireplace, rammering. Mr. Weasley blasted the whole board off to release them and well, travelled back the same way (Floo Network) to go to the Burrow. Fred and George didn’t miss the chance to leak out a “Ton-Tongue Toffee” one of their inventions/products that engorges the tongue and make it protrude from the mouth. Dudley’s was as long as a python when they left and Mr. Weasley was left to sort things out.
At the Burrow, Harry found out that Fred and George was working on realizing their dream – which is to put up a joke shop, “Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes”. Mrs. weasley wasn’t as thrilled because the twins didn’t get as many OWLs as Mrs. Weasley hoped. Mrs. Weasley was hoping the twins can work in the ministry, like Percy (Weatherby to Mr. Crouch), who at that time, was Mr. Barty Crouch’s assistant. It was from here that they shall be travelling through a portkey, as none amongst Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred and George can’t apparate yet (Bill, Charlie and Percy are going to apparate). Conincidentally, they will be sharing the portkey with Amos and Cedric Diggory (Hufflepuff Seeker who defeated the Gryffindor’s previous year when Harry fell from his broom because the dementors came).
At the Quidditch World Cup, Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the group, met Ludo Bagman – whom fred and George, made a bet as regards the outcome of the game, Mr. Crouch and Winky, Mr. Crouch’s elf. Malfoy (Draco and Lucius) was also there but it was beyond the point since Ron was excited to see Krum (his favorite Quidditch player) and Harry, himself, was about to watch the finals of his favorite sport, Quidditch World Cup Tournament. As it turns out, Ireland wins against Bulgaria by 10 points, however, it was Krum (Bulgaria) who got the snitch – exactly what the twins predicted. During nightfall, while everyone had a feeling of rejoicing, a group of hooded wizards was moving across the tent area making fun of a Muggle family. These wizards’ idea of fun was to manipulate the 4 (2 of which are children) by lifting them through the air and making them contort into grotesque shapes. Except for Bill, Charlie and Percy, Mr. Weasley advised the lot to stick together and go into the woods where Harry, Ron and Hermione got separated from Fred, George and Ginny. The darkness wasn’t very helpful and it was just timely, that Harry, Ron and Hermione found Draco, calmly watching the events from a nearby tree. Hearing Draco’s “muggle insults” against Hermione, the three were forced to leave and look for the others. It was during this chaos that Harry realized he has lost his wand and shortly, discovered Winky from amongst the bushes, having difficulty to move and disappeared once again from a nearby shrub. Hermione, then commented on the abuse being done to house-elves as they make their way into the clearing/woods, overhearing people and coming across Bagman who seemed to be “lost” in what was happening. Shortly, however, they heard someone cast a spell – a spell which conjured the death mark on the sky and which led to a group of wizards pointing their wands against the three. It was to be discovered a stunned Winky was near the location of the origin of the spellcaster and on her hands was Harry’s wand. After casting a priori incantatem spell to determine what was the last spell made with the wand, Amos Diggory was led to believe that either Harry or Winky (or Mr. Crouch for teaching his house-elves to do so), casted the spell. Having no further lead, Mr. Crouch asked Amos to return Harry’s wand and requested them to leave.
The disastrous ending on the Quidditch World Cup was not about to be ignored by the Ministry of Magic. Rita Skeeter, one of the journalists of The Daily Prophet, was being “criticized” by Mr. Weasley as she seems to have a habit of twisting the truth and not getting things right. The pressure on the Ministry was larger at this point and the event with “Mad Eye Moody” just before the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione boarded the Hogwarts Express did not help.
At Hogwarts, Harry attended his first sorting (apart from his own). He came late on his second year (flying car) and was not in profit fit (dementors attack) during the previous one. After this, Dumbledore announced that the Quidditch Tournament is cancelled for this year and in lieu is the Triwizard tournament, a friendly competition between schools which was supposed to encourage ties between wizards and witches of different nations.
In the Triwizard Tournament, a champion has to be selected from the participating schools (Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang) and win the highest points from three tasks. The judges included the three headmasters/headmistress of the school, Bagman and Mr. Crouch. The champions was to be selected by an impartial judge – the goblet of fire. Certain measures were made so that only those of the right age (17 years old) can join. Once selected, on the other hand, the goblet of fire binds the chosen champion to complete the tasks.
The Goblet of Fire apparently, chose 4 champions instead of three: Fleur Delacour, Viktor Krum, Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter. Finding out how and why it happened wasn’t the issue at the time, though. The tournament has to proceed and Harry simply has to comply and attempt his best to stay alive.
The first task was to retrieve an egg from a mothering dragon, the second was to use the egg as a clue and save the one most dear to you in the lake and the last was a maze that keeps the Triwizard Cup in the middle.
The last task was the most difficult as aside from finding out the “right direction” of the cup, it also meant fighting off or getting through an oversized spider, a boggart (which Harry thought was a dementor) and going through a riddle from a Sphinx.
There were numerous instances within the tournament where Harry and Cedric came across events that proved how humble and noble both were. In the end, it was this “nobility” that bridged their fate. The Triwizard Cup was a portkey to Little Hangleton – where Tom Riddle – Voldermort’s father – lived and was buried. Accompanied by Wormtail, who also casted the Avada Kedavra curse against Cedric, Voldermort came into view. Wormtail tied Harry to the tomb and prepared the ritual – one that shall give body and flesh to Voldermort using three essential elements: bone of the father, unknowingly given, flesh of a servant, willingly given and blood of a foe.
During the beginning of the book, Wormtail was convincing Voldermort to settle with any wizard to complete this ritual but Voldermort had his reasons and was very specific with picking Harry as his blood will make Harry, now vulnerable to Voldermort’s attacks.
Voldermort, then used the dark mark on the forearm of Wormtail to call the remaining deatheaters.
He named them: Avery, whom he cursed with Crucio for asking for “unworthy forgiveness”, Wormtail, whom he gave a metallic arm to replace his severed one on the note that he shall not falter in obeying his master’s orders, Lucius, whom he expressed great disappointment but shown mercy (for not cursing him like Avery), the Lestranges (Bellatrix and Rodolphus who was in Azkaban for using the Cruciatus curse against the Auror, Frank Longbottom), some others (not named), Macnair, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, 3 dead deatheaters (one was Evan Rosier) and 3 who was not present (one who was too afraid to return – Karkaroff, one whom has left him forever and shall be killed (Snape) and and one who remains faitful (Crouch). These were also mentioned (as deatheaters) based on Dumbledore’s memory (via the Pensieve) on the earlier chapters: Antonin Dolohov, Travers, Mulciber (in Azkaban), apprehended by Mr. Crouch and Mad-Eye Moody and Augustus Rookwood (Department of Mysteries), cleared like the rest of the deatheaters on this ritual for “denouncing Voldermort”.
After rounding up the deatheaters, Voldermort, then faced Harry as an equal and challenged him into a duel. Asking Wormtail to give him his wand, Voldermort cursed Harry with Crucio and attempted to put him into an Imperius Curse, which Harry fought off (like he did during Mad-Eye’s first class). Then both of them cursed at the same time, Harry with Expelliarmus and Voldermort with Avada Kedavra. The wands connected which made Voldermort’s wand retract the last few spells it has casted (similar to priori incantatem) and release mist-like images of Cedric Diggory, Frank, Bertha Jorkins, Lily Potter and James Potter – who created a few seconds delay/diversion for Harry to bring back Cedric’s body and take ahold of the portkey – the triwizard cup.
Back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore was immediately alarmed but was surprised to find Mad-Eye Moody removing Harry from the “scene.” The Mad-Eye Moody who has been partly teaching, urging the students with “Constant Vigilance” as well as mentor to Harry was an impostor. It was Barty Crouch under the guise of a Polyjuice Potion. Using Snape’s strongest Veritaserum potion, they were able to find out the truth from Barty Crouch – how his father has smuggled him out of Azkaban, how he has conjured the death mark during the Quidditch World Cup, how he was approached by Voldermort himself with the Triwizard ploy and how we has murdered his father when it escaped from Wormtail.
After the “confession,” Dumbledore has requested McGonagall to stay with Crouch as he attends to Harry to ask him what happened. He brought him to his office where Sirius was also waiting to hear what has happened. After finding out the turn of events, they went their way to the hospital wing where an angry, loud Cornelius Fudge was looking for Dumbledore. It was during this awkward moment that the “parting of the ways” happened. Fudge has always shown respect for Dumbledore because he knew the position he holds was originally offered to Dumbledore, it was for that reason that he has allowed Dumbledore “free reign” over Hogwarts. Dumbledore on the other hand, has always, simply believed in the truth. Fudge does not wish to believe that and since Dumbledore is aware that this is just the beginning, he will not let anyone, even Fudge, stop him from protecting people – be them wizards/witches or muggles.
The book ended with a speech from Dumbledore to honor and remember Cedric and to warn the students of Voldermort’s return. The train ride home was also a close to various open events throughout the book. Fred and George told Harry, Ron and Hermione about the “attempted blackmailing” they did to Bagman (he didn’t pay his losses), Hermione told Harry and Ron about Rita Skeeter’s secret (unregistered animagus – bug, which she kept in a bottle) and Malfoy, Crabbe and Goyle’s eavesdropping and skid remarks which resulted to a shower of curse and hexes against them. Malfoy insulted Hermione’s findings about Rita Skeeter and called her a mudblood. It flushed out the anger in all of them (Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred and George). Further on, it ended with happy goodbyes from Ron and Hermione and Harry being received by Uncle Vernon.
You’ll have to read through the book to find out more detail about the tasks because the tasks are scattered throughout the school year. Within this school year, Hermione has established SPEW (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) with Harry and Ron as first/co-founders, has managed to get her teeth reduced and her braces removed and became Viktor Krum’s “person who shall be missed the most”. Ron, on the other hand, seemed to be in a really foul mood, first against Harry, thinking that Harry didn’t trust him as regards cheating to get into the tournament and then against Hermione, for being so stunning and happily dancing with Krum throughout. Hagrid also had a little romance with Madama Maxime here, but his “giant” heritage was scandalized by Skeeter. Both Harry and Hermione were also victims of Skeeter’s distorted newswriting.
This was truly action-packed. The movie was pretty close to portraying the entire book, it removed a few details but everything was there. It was such a comeback since I was utterly disappointed with the way Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban turned out. My only issue with the movie was that initial claim I had when I started with this book – of Harry, being such a “know-it-all” or “good-at-all”. Even the ending, although very troubling, still manages to make Harry so heroic.
Also, I became confused with two simple facts. Voldermort was defenseless and was hardly living, how did he manage to keep his wand intact – did Wormtail keep it for him? The Polyjuice Potion was also so convenient – first by Barty Crouch Jr.’s mom and then by Barty Crouch himself. It’s a bit hard to pinpoint, when Barty Crouch Jr. was Mad-Eye and when Mad-Eye was under the Imperius Curse. The line is too thin to draw. In any case, it does appear too speculative to assess these things.
The fifth should be more exciting, now that Voldermort has risen.