Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

(Spoilers through book 6.)

Goblet of Fire was the first Harry Potter I had to wait for. We only waited about six months, but we still had to wait. And after it, we had to wait three years for the next book. So Goblet of Fire is the one I’ve read and thought about the most, no question. Which means I don’t have as much to say about it this time through. (And, some of the things I wonder about, like Harry possibly being a horcrux, I talked about in the last book’s post.)

Goblet of Fire was, obviously, the first release party that we went to. It was the week before our wedding, and we told our friends Randy and Melissa that we were going to go to the party at Barnes and Noble, and my impression is that they thought we were a little crazy. Perhaps this is not true. But I think they thought we were doing our typical “Mike and Kari overdo things” bit, and that we were going to be the only ones at the party. I did, after all, have a party last week for Gilmore Girls. You can see why they might have thought I was the type to get overexcited about things.

We weren’t, in fact, the only ones at the party, and we were 122 in line to get our book. Mike took it to our apartment and promised, on penalty of death, not to crack it open, not even a little bit. And the week progressed, and we got married, and when I saw Theresa at our wedding, I only had a second to talk to her, and what I said was, “Did you finish it?” and she said she had, and I said, “Was it good” and she said it was. It’s true. I thought about Harry Potter on my wedding day.

The next morning on the plane, we started reading, and we read it off and on for the rest of the week. We read in our room. We read in the parlor downstairs. We read the second task while having a picnic at the beach, and I was sure that Ron wasn’t going to survive. I read while Mike drove us to see pottery and lighthouses. And I read the entire second half out loud while we drove the nine hours back to Maine, finishing up just as we pulled into the city where we were staying. I wanted to pick it up and start it over again, to watch it all come together. Since Mike did the driving and I did the reading, I feel like this one is really “mine” more than the others. I feel really invested in Cedric and Mad-Eye and Barty Crouch.

Because of that, I’m not sure I have a ton to say about it. This one was the first one that was about the experience as much as the actual story itself. There are, however, a couple of things that stand out to me.

1. I think the next book is probably Neville’s big coming out party (the old-fashioned kind, not the gay kind), but this is our first introduction to his backstory at all, our first introduction to the idea that there’s more to Neville than we’ve been told. He speaks up in class about the Cruciatus Curse. It KILLS me that the person who comforted him after that was one of the people who tortured his parents, it really does. Neville can’t catch a break. But this is the beginning of Neville’s importance to the story. (I mean, really, Neville’s importance to the story was foreshadowed in the very first book when he was the one who won them the House Cup. But this is more . . . direct.) I know that JKR has said that the prophecy is only important because Harry and Voldemort think it’s important, and that its only importance to Neville is that he wasn’t chosen. But . . . I know I’m not the only one who thinks there has to be a little more to it, right? The prophecy is one of those storylines I don’t feel like I completely have a grasp on, like there is something else that is important about it. At least the author of this essay understands me. Even if the author is wrong, it’s a good snapshot of how much we still feel like we don’t know, and how much we . . . distrust even things that have (possibly) been answered at this point. It’s the kind of thing that future generations will look at and think, “Those people were nuts.” Future generations, please keep in mind that we had a lot of time to wait and nothing to do but come up with new theories. You would have behaved exactly the same way. hehe. So, anyway. This is probably when Neville started becoming my favorite character. We’re only one book away from Christmas on the Closed Ward, people. Are you ready for me to wax melodramatic about it? I do have one question about Neville, based on this quote, set just after Harry opened the egg and it made the awful screaming sound:

“It was someone being tortured!” said Neville, who had gone very white and spilled sausage rolls all over the floor. “You’re going to have to fight the Cruciatus Curse!” -p. 366

Was Neville THERE when his parents were tortured? Or is that just that torture is close to his mind and therefore his first guess?

2. Snape, again. I know, I know. This time, what struck me the most is that, at the very end, Dumbledore sends Snape on his mission, Snape’s eyes glitter, and Dumbledore looks after him pensively. You guys, I just don’t KNOW about Snape. I just don’t. I mean, I can see that maybe the bad thing he did at the end of book 6 was part of Dumbledore’s plan, but at the same time, he killed Dumbledore! KILLED him, you guys. That is a big thing. Maybe Voldemort’s power seduced Snape back to the dark side. Maybe he was on the dark side all along and Dumbledore was wrong. Maybe Dumbledore was right and this was part of his master plan. I don’t know! I see evidence for both sides! And that’s how it should be. What bugs me, though is when people state categorically that Snape is good and that I am stupid for believing otherwise. Lovely having discourse with you, as always. At the end of this book, Dumbledore says that when we have to choose between what is right and what is easy, we should remember Cedric (*sniff*). I wish I knew what that meant for Snape. People online seem so convinced that Snape is good, that it was all part of the plan. And, for the first time since I sat on my front porch and listened as Mike read Snape killing Dumbledore, I can almost believe it. Almost. The truth is that we won’t know for a while. What it boils down to is this: Dumbledore said, in book 2, that our choices, more than our abilities, show who we really are. Has he chosen what was right? (I know the hero has to go on alone and all that, but how can killing Dumbledore be right? AUGH!) Or has he been taken in by evil? One thing I know is that I thought Snape was a great character until this book, when Hermione’s teeth were jinxed and he made fun of her. You guys, that is crossing the line. It’s hard for me to believe someone that unkind to a child is on the side of good. You see what I mean, right? Hermione is, and can be, an insufferable know-it-all, but he’s an adult and she’s a kid.

3. We don’t know the whole story behind Harry’s scar, right? For a long time, I accepted it at face value, I thought it was just that the curse rebounded and left a scar, but in this book, as his scar hurts more and more . . . there’s more to it, right? (I clearly think there is more to everything.) Are there other theories about his scar besides horcrux ones?

4. JKR says that one question she hasn’t been asked (and can’t answer) is why Dumbledore had James Potter’s invisibility cloak when he can make himself invisible using other means. Did James hide something in the invisibility cloak at their house, something that Dumbledore later retrieved (knowing that Dumbledore can see through Invisibility Cloaks)? Does this have to do with the horcruxes? What the heck happened in Godric’s Hollow that night!?! (That doesn’t really have to do with this book, but I thought I’d go ahead and say it.)

I don’t really have more to say than that about this one. As I get closer to the end of what we know, I feel like I have more questions than ever before. Boy, J.K. Rowling can tell a story. That’s for sure. Two months from today, all these questions should, finally, be answered.

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