Sunday, 3 March 2013
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
How boring is that cover? I mean, I know the actual Goblet of Fire is described as being plain, but come on. Some sparkles wouldn't have gone amiss. That aside, this has always been one of my favourite books in the series. For a long time, it was the favourite. Mostly because there were mermaids. I was obsessed with the second task, and the chapter containing it was my favourite chapter of the series for years. (For those of you wondering, it's now a certain chapter towards the end of Deathly Hallows which makes me blubber like a baby every time I read it).
Unlike Prisoner of Azkaban, I have several things I'd like to mention about this book. One of which really, really bugs me. See if you can guess which one it is.
1 - Amos Diggory mentions that the Lovegoods have been at the Quidditch World Cup for a fortnight already by the time he and the Weasleys go, but I can't see the Lovegoods being remotely interested in Quidditch or organised sport on the whole. If they did go, they'd probably forget to go to the match and spend the time chasing bizarre animals through the forest.
2 - When practising Stunning, Ron keeps missing the cushions, so why doesn't he lie down on them for Harry to Stun him? I can't see how it would make any difference - if they're practising doing the spell, then presumably Ron isn't trying to block it, so him lying down would just save him some bruises. I'm amazed Hermione didn't think of this. Unless she was just being mean. She does that sometimes.
3 - The World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament - this entire book in fact - make a huge deal about the fact that there are wizards all around the world, in every country, in significant enough numbers that they have their own magical schools and Ministries of Magic. So why on earth is this never mentioned again? Going after other countries doesn't appear to factor into Voldemort's plan at all, he appears content to just get Britain. Maybe his plan is to go after other countries eventually, so surely the other Ministries would think something along the lines of "Oh, shit, he'll come after us next, maybe we should help Dumbledore stop him." Not only that, but the international wizards don't seem to factor into Dumbledore or the Order's plans at all either. Okay, maybe Voldemort wanted to develop a strong footing in the UK before going after the rest of the world, so why didn't Dumbledore call on the rest of the world to help stop him? Why? Seriously, why? This has always bothered me, but it's never occurred to me before that Goblet of Fire makes a huge point about the internationality of magic. I mean, they actually mention The Department of International Magical Co-operation. I get that maybe bringing in the whole world was a bit beyond the scope of what could be achieved in the novels - I mean, I dread to think how long the books would have been if Rowling did bring all the other countries into it. Actually, I don't dread it, I'd've loved even longer books - but why then use this instalment to make a big fuss about it? If you're going to ignore the rest of the world, don't spend 700 pages talking about them before you gloss over them.
4 - In the graveyard, Voldemort says his Death Eaters knew what steps he took to prevent his death. Not just that he took steps, he specifically says that they know what steps he took. So Snape should have known about the Horcruxes and he should have told Dumbledore so Dumbledore should have known about the Horcruxes instead of just suspecting them so he should have started searching for them earlier so he could have been finished before he died. Sure, this would have made Deathly Hallows a hell of a lot shorter, but Snape knew. And things like that bother me. Precise wording is important.
5 - In the edition I'm reading, the adult cover paperback, it's been changed so that Harry's mother appears from Voldemort's wand first, as opposed to the original editions, when his father appeared first. The fact that it was wrong always bugged me, because it's quite a huge, glaring error, but I'm not sure I like the fact that it's been fixed either. It's jarring. I noticed it. I think maybe they should have just left it alone.
If you guessed number three is the one that annoys me the most, you'd be right. Still, despite all these things, I still love this book, and I actually really enjoyed reading it again. It's strange how quickly it rattles along, given the length of this book. Things like the second task, which I remembered as being a lot longer, is actually really short. It's strange, maybe scenes felt longer to me because I was younger, but at times it almost seems rushed. Which, again, is weird considering this book has 796 pages. The next is the longest, though - and did you know that despite Order of the Phoenix being the longest book with 956 pages, it's actually the shortest of the movies? - and, in my opinion, contains one of the most important moments in the series. Stay tuned to find out what that is.