Monday, January 26, 2015

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Hello All! We've just finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in our Potter Head Read-Along. It's being hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey, and it's not too late to join in if you're interested in reading with us. Details here. As most people are all kinds of familiar with our boy-wizard's world, this won't be your average book review. I'll just talk about points that struck my fancy while re-reading. 

(If you're one of the four people in the world who haven't read or seen HP yet, be warned there may be spoilers below.)

The biggest thing I always remember about book 4 is that it's the one that made me an all-obsessive, totally die-hard Potter fan. I didn't read these until my first year of college, and I remember my older sister giving me crap for reading "kids books." I didn't care, though. I just wanted to read book 1 to see what all the hype was about. Of course I really liked it, and continued onto book 2. The first two books were really cute to me and interesting enough that I wanted to keep reading, but only that.  Book 3 upped the ante a lot. But book 4...oh good heavens. I remember waking up early to finish reading the end of the 4th book before going to an early class. Yup, actually waking up early to finish the "kids book." And the epic-ness of the ending just left me reeling. I couldn't believe how...OMG!!!...it was. It was definitely my favorite installment up to this point, and still one of my faves overall.


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Now, of course the book is way more detailed than the film, and I definitely prefer it. While I thought they did the actual ending--Cedric's death and the graveyard scene--really well, there were other things I wasn't a fan of. Of course the house elves and S.P.E.W. are totally nonexistent. That's the kind of thing that I understand why they would cut it, for time, but I still really like that story line. 

One thing I really didn't like was I didn't think they gave the beginning scene--the chaos at the world cup--enough attention or emphasis. It was just sort of there and gone in the film, but in the book it was the catalyst for the entire plot. I thought they should have done that a bit better in the film. 

Also, the films aren't so great at doing history and back story. The pensieve was done fairly well, but as in the 3rd film, the history of Barty Crouch and his son, along with Karkarof's role, could have been much more clear. 

And I always wish we could see more of the Dursleys in the films. Even though they are essentially minor villains, they serve as the bookends for Harry's adventures, and I always feel like the films are somewhat incomplete without them.


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As I said, though, the film does a superb job with the ending, though I do prefer the way in which the book explains ?? better. It's sweeter and more clear. I also, I have to admit, wasn't the biggest fan of Michael Gambon as Dumbledore. As I re-read these books, I picture Richard Harris in the role, even though he was no longer alive for these films. I just think he exemplified Dumbledore much more.


All the other actors used in the films are fantastic, though. Brenden Gleeson as Mad Eye? Awesome! Miranda Richardson as Rita Skeeter? Perfect in a love-to-hate-her sort of way. And who better to play the epic villain than Ralph Fiennes himself? Let's face it. The cast is awesome. (Yeah, I'm gonna pointedly ignore typical jokes made about the fact that Robert Pattinson plays Cedric. :D)

To speak about the book itself, I really think this was the first installment in which we saw Harry as more man than boy. Of course he's still a teenager, but he's facing this terrible evil and tragedy, and we see his very real and heart-rending bond with his parents. I think that's what connected me so much to the series. Before, it was a cutsy (if still compelling) story about a young wizard. At this point, it became so much bigger than that. From here on out this will be a full-fledged, good-vs.-evil, epic fantasy (My favorite kind) that just happens to be experienced through the eyes of teenage and child wizards.

I'll say it again: J.K. Rowling is a freaking genius!



(Trailer for Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire film.)

What's your favorite HP installment? How do you think they did with this film?



8 comments :

  1. AW!!! It is so nice to see a Harry Potter review after so long! And it makes you fall more in love each time, eh? Absolutely great review!

    As for me, Goblet of Fire was the book that made me love this magical series even more. There was so much happening, and this one is my favourite of all the movies!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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    1. Oh good! Glad to hear it. One of the other bloggers says this is her least favorite book. I'm glad to find a kindred spirit who loved book 4 like I did! Thanks for stopping by! :D

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  2. How interesting!! I, too, fell so deeply in love with the Harry Potter series after reading Goblet of Fire! There was just something about it. It was such a turning point in the series and the books became a lot darker and more detailed afterward. I remember feeling terrified that Voldemort was back, but then also feeling a sense of relief that Dumbledore was around to keep everyone safe. (:

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    1. Agreed, Jennifer. This installment definitely upped the ante. Thanks for stopping by! :D

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  3. Even though this was my least favorite, I definitely agree with you about how epic this book is and how we do see Harry more as a man. Completely agree about the book to film - both with the lack of details and how well they did picking actors. I just love the fact that the 10th Doctor is in GoF!

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    1. LOL. I know he's from Doctor Who, but that's only because I pay attention. I swear I"m the only person in the world who doesn't watch that show. Thanks for stopping by, Jenna! :D

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  4. Liesel, I, too, see Richard Harris when I think of Dumbledore. He was so perfectly cast in the beginning, but of course, his death wasn't foreseen nor is it controllable. I'm glad we at least had him for the first two :) I've pulled away from the movies, even though I own them all, and resent how they distorted my memories of the books' details which, back then, I knew SO well!

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    1. I don't think I'd go so far as to say I resent the films, but I totally know what you mean. There are definitely some grievances I have. That said, when I've finished each book during this read-along, I've had an over-whelming desire to watch the corresponding film. Yeah, I totally gave in every time. :D

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