Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire – Book 4 – has the absolutely scariest scene in the entire series… forget the vicious Hungarian Horntail… forget the grindylows and the merpeople with their grey skin, broken yellow teeth and wild green hair leering at Harry and shaking their spears… forget the eerie disappearance of nearly everyone Harry cares about: Ron, Hermione, Cho… the SCARIEST thing about what I think is the scariest volume in the series is that just when Harry and Cedric appear to have victory at their fingertips, they are jerked away from the maze, from Hogwarts, and portkeyed to the creepiest, most dangerous location yet: the Little Hangleton graveyard.
“They were standing instead in a dark and overgrown graveyard; the black outline of a small church was visible beyond a large yew to their right… It was silent and slightly eerie.” Dark shapes approach, walking steadily through the graves, and Harry’s scar explodes with pain. Cedric is struck and Harry is captured. “The short man in the cloak… was dragging Harry toward the marble headstone. Harry saw the name upon it flickering in the wandlight before he was forced around and slammed against it. TOM RIDDLE.” Continue reading →
I’ve brought it up before here at The Hog’s Head and never received an answer satisfactory enough: Why didn’t Fake Moody just make a portkey out of Harry’s broomstick or pumpkin juice at the beginning of the year? Why the long, elaborate, risky plan?
I may have been thinking too hard about it. At the book table after the event in NYC last night, Melissa Anelli, webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron, said, very simply, “Dumbledore wouldn’t have allowed that kind of magic except in that particular instance – at the end of the tournament.” That didn’t seem like a strong enough argument to me at first, but I asked her a few clarifying questions, and three things struck me in our discussion:
Portkeys are highly regulated in the Wizarding World.
The Ministry of Magic may not know who is casting a spell, but they always know which spell is cast.
A portkey is a perfect way to finish the tournament: The winner is zapped back to the start of the maze.
With these thoughts in mind, the answer might be as simple as this: Fake Moody couldn’t randomly create a portkey. It would be noticed by the Ministry. But since the final trial of the TriWizard Tournament was set to end with a portkey, the plan was hatched that Harry would make it to that portkey, that Fake Moody would be the one to make that portkey, but that instead of sending the tournament’s winner back to the beginning of the maze, it would send him to the graveyard instead.
Even if the whole plan is still a little bit too elaborate and perhaps risky, it’s the best explanation I’ve heard! (My apologies, by the way, if someone here suggested this and I’m forgetting it. Please step up and take credit if you did.)
A Yahoo! article indicates that a legal action filed in England is claiming that J.K. Rowling copied significant portions of Goblet of Fire from a 1987 children’s book written by Adrian Jacobs, called Willy the Wizard.
It named the estate’s trustee as Paul Allen, and said that Rowling had copied “substantial parts” of “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard — No 1 Livid Land” written by Jacobs in 1987.
It added that the plot of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire copied elements of the plot of Willy the Wizard, including a wizard contest, and that the Potter series borrowed the idea of wizards traveling on trains.
“Both Willy and Harry are required to work out the exact nature of the main task of the contest which they both achieve in a bathroom assisted by clues from helpers, in order to discover how to rescue human hostages imprisoned by a community of half-human, half-animal fantasy creatures,” the estate statement said. Continue reading →
Update: I edited this post for some grammatical mistakes. Sorry…I was in a bit of a hurry yesterday when I wrote it.
Jamie and I subscribe to Entertainment Weekly, my favorite section of which is Stephen King’s monthly column in the back of the magazine. While the magazine certainly isn’t especially critically aware or anything, their latest issue lists what they believe are the “new classics” of film, television, books, and videogames. “New Classics” basically translates into the best examples from these genres over the last 25 years. You can check out the book list here, and there are links to look at the other lists, too.
I bring this up because HP made the list — once. One of the books is slotted at #2 on a list of 100, the only one to make it. That book? Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The print version of the magazine has a brief commentary that praises the book’s turn from the tamer, more child oriented direction of the first three novels. Interestingly, the book sits right between Cormac McCarthy (#1) and Toni Morrison (#3), and is more than twenty places higher than Possession by HP nemesis A.S. Byatt (which is a fantastic book, whatever you may think of Byatt’s take on HP). She also sits well above a very long list of distinguished authors that have won everything from Pulitzer Prizes to National Book Awards.
Instead of posting a plothole, this time I’m going to try to solve one. I only had one minor gripe with PoA (having to do with butterbeer), so we’re on to GoF. The biggest plothole that folks have mentioned from GoF is the use of the Triwizard Cup by Faux Moody as the portkey as Harry’s invite to Lord Thingy’s second birthday party. Why such a complicated process? Why wait so long? Why chance Harry not being the one to touch it? Why couldn’t Crouch, Jr. have just passed him something in a little office chat at some point earlier in the year?
Well, obviously the book wouldn’t have been anywhere near as long, so it could have simply been a plot necessity. But I’m going to make some suggestions that might help us make more sense of it.
Voldemort’s Power: While Wormtail suggested that they could use someone other than Harry and get the thing done with a lot quicker, it is rather evident that Baby-mort was gaining power throughout the course of the book. The Dark Mark tattoos kept getting clearer throughout, as we heard from both Karkarov and Snape. Frequent mentions were made about Dumbledore “reading the signs.” It seems a reasonable explanation that Voldemort wanted to wait long enough to achieve a certain amount of regained strength, even in his defeated form, before the re-birth occurred. We have no idea what kind of magic took place in that cauldron, but it might indeed be a process that could have failed had Babymort not been strong enough.
Voldemort’s Planning: Voldemort is very patient and cunning. As the symbol of pure evil in the series, it’s likely that we can draw some parallels between him and the current world threat of terrorism, which also embodies one of the clearest forms of present-day evil. And we know terrorists are patient and cunning. They are willing to wait as long as it takes to make sure their plans go correctly.
As such, it would also make sense for Harry to grasp a portkey at a time when it would not be noticed that he was missing. Were Harry expected in a class, at lunch, or back in the common room after an office meeting with Faux Moody, people would have noticed he was missing. At the Third Task, however, no one had any idea how long it would take the champions to find the cup. The whole plan moved him at significant distance from Dumbledore and the rest of the school, ironically, during the very time that they were most aware of Harry’s absence!
Three of the most intensely debated questions surrounding Half-Blood Prince and Book 7 are “Is Harry a Horcrux?”, “Will Harry Die?”, and “Is Dumbledore Dead?” This essay (and it certainly must be essay-length) will examine the third question.
Question:What is the biggest difference between book one Harry and book four Harry? Why is this difference significant?
There are some significant differences between book 1 Harry and book 4 Harry, but I think perhaps the most important is that by the end of book 4, Harry is no longer concerned about what other people think, as long as he is doing the right thing.
In Sorcerer’s Stone, as Harry sits beneath the Sorting Hat, the Hat says something really interesting about him: “There’s…a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting.” (Stone 121) Interesting, indeed! It seems that Harry, who prior to learning he’s a wizard had a very confused identity, has entered a world where everyone knows who he is. In essence, he has an entire identity outside himself, as well as many expectations about him, whether right or wrong. What will people think of him?
Question:How is the abstract theme of Good vs. Evil further developed, complicated, extended, or diversified in Goblet of Fire?
The theme of Good vs. Evil is further developed in the graveyard scene as Voldemort explains how he was destroyed yet remained alive. Good vs. Evil is centered very much around the question of death. Voldemort explains to his followers that it was Harry’s mother’s “foolish sacrifice” that saved him. (653) He speaks of his own “experiments,” which have brought him “further than anybody along the path that leads to immortality.” (653) His own goal is “to conquer death.” (653) As he continues his story, he speaks of killing people as though they were
trash to be thrown out every week. He has no problem committing the most evil of atrocities in order to keep himself alive.
Harry, on the other hand, is willing to die. Though he is nowhere near prepared for a duel with Voldemort, he is prepared to do what is right, i.e., to fight Voldemort and even die in the attempt. (660) His willingness to die in doing what is right, along with his mother’s, is contrasted with Voldemort’s evil intentions to do what is wrong in order to stay alive.
Facing death is a scary prospect. But as Dumbledore teaches the students to “Remember Cedric Diggory” should the choice present itself “between what is right and what is easy,” clearly he is teaching that Cedric, who died, is an example of what is right. (724) Better to die doing what is good than live doing what is evil.