Book Title: Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire
Author: JK Rowling
Category: fiction: fantasy
In the summer of 2000 I went to Bolens Books with my friend Annie, they were having a party the day of the release, complete with a sorting hat. Annie and I stood in line to be sorted. The woman running the hat put me into Hufflepuff, and Annie, who had not yet read the books told her that she belonged in “the evil house” so ended up in Slytherin. At this point I still didn’t know that Bolens Books would be my go-to place for the next three book releases, and my enthusiasm would grow with each one.
The next week, after reading through Goblet of Fire at a breakneck pace, was another big step in my life – I went to Area Camp through Girl Guides. Seven nights in a canvas tent away from home. My tent group was patrol H, and we named ourselves The Hufflepuffs, complete with a sign for our tent. That week there was a group of about 10 of us who spent any and all free time in a circle in the middle of camp reading Goblet of Fire (or in my case, reading the Goblet of Fire over an over again). We had a strict no-spoiler policy that we enforced across the camp, for the benefit of those yet to read the book.
Looking back on that summer, its a wonder I didn’t figure out sooner that I truly was a Hufflepuff.
There are some parts of Goblet of Fire that I absolutely adore, and others I could do without. Imposter Moody is one of the most interesting new character that Rowling introduces us to, and his rants about ‘CONSTANT VIGILANCE’ are some of my favourite parts of the novel. And then there is the scene where he transfigures Draco Malfoy into a ferret.
“…I want to fix that in my memory for ever,’ said Ron, his eyes closed and an uplifted expression on his face. ‘Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret…'” (183)
There is Dobby and his socks, Winky and Hermione’s efforts to launch SPEW in the Gryffindor common room. And the “gleam of triumph” (604) in Dumbledore’s eyes that perplexed us right until the end of Deathly Hallows. We learn more about Neville, and the Weasley twins continue to entertain and amuse us.
This is also the book that sets the stage for much of the next three novels. After this JK Rowling will make us wait 3 more years until Order of the Phoenix. In doing so, writing books as large as Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, she will change the standard in Young Adult Literature. Before these large volumes flew off the shelves of bookstores into eager hands of children and teenagers, hardly anyone would publish YA books larger than a couple hundred pages. Now larger books can be seen in Young Adult sections of bookstores and libraries everywhere. At a Harry Potter conference in Chicago in the summer of 2008, and then again at a book signing at Kidsbooks in Vancouver I heard Tamora Pierce, author of the Tortall novels, speak about this. You can see the change in her books at the same time. Previously Pierce had stuck to quartets, each book little more than 200 pages, and then after the publication of Goblet of Fire, she is suddenly allowed to publish books like Squire and Lady Knight, books that are easily double the length of anything before. She attributes this to the groundbreaking publication of JK Rowling’s novels.
Goblet of Fire was not my favourite book upon first reading, nor upon subsequent readings. But it holds a very very special place in my heart. November of 2005 I was in London, along with Katrina, Emily and Megan for the world premiere of the Goblet of Fire film. I have a copy of that book, battered by the torrential rains and immense shoving and jostling that took place in the line. But this copy also has the autographs of Neville Longbottom, Seamus Finnigan, Hermione Granger, Igor Karkaroff, Karkaroff’s Aid, Viktor Krum and Moaning Myrtle.*
Goblet of Fire is also the home of one of my favourite passages from the entire series. In speaking of bravery and consequences to the somber gathering of the school at the leaving feast, Dumbledore imparts these words to the students:
“Remember Cedric. Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right, and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” (628)
These words are some of the most inspiring and poignant words of the series. Words to live by.
*It is also one of my chief regrets in life that at this premiere I was less than a metre away from David Tennant, but would not know who he was until 6 weeks later. If I actually had a TARDIS this would not be such a problem.