Harry Potter is in his fourth year at Hogwarts. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the Quidditch World Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to find out about the mysterious event to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for hundreds of years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – not even by Wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly – taken from the Goblet of Fire wiki Fandom page.
Age when book was first read – 10
Importance – Reading the Goblet of Fire will always remain one of my biggest achievement. I hadn’t read a lot but the time I was ten and I had had a rookie start when it came to reading. Reading had been a difficult challenge for me, a challenge I had almost given up with for I only got angry and disheartened in my lack of ability. I was fortunate enough to be seven when the first Harry Potter book came out and thus grew up with the book which became like a home away from home to dive into. My difficulty with reading was largely down to being dyslexic, having processing difficulties and a lack of determination to try. Of the three previous Harry Potter books, my Mum had read the first two and my Dad the third. By the time the fourth came out I had a drive within me and a fire lit under me and was determined that this would be the book I would read myself and read successfully.
You can tell from the picture how loved this book became. It wasn’t that I took poor care of the book, rather that I read it so much that the covered spine disintegrated, the covers fell off and some of the pages became loose. The whole Harry Potter series holds a special place in my heart but this one especially because it was the opening to me realising that I could overcome my difficulties and that I could find enjoyment in something I never thought I’d be good at. I also remember thinking that this was the book that changed Harry. Before, his stories of adventure had been just that, but this book showed just what Harry had been through and what he was going to face in the future.
What was learnt – I learnt a surprising amount while reading this book. Each time I read the book I gleamed something more from it. I learnt more as an adult but understood enough at 10 to see that it was an important moment in the series. As an adult I became disheartened with Gryffindor, I’d always associated myself more with Slytherin but it was in this book that I started to look at Gryffindor without rose-tinted glasses. I saw the rift between Harry and Ron and started to see similarities between the rumours believe there and the rumours that fuelled the bullies in my own life.
I started to see Hermione as more of a central character and started to view Ron with more disdain (by the sixth book, I was firmly in the anti-Ron camp and as an adult I still can’t stand him!) and I felt that I learnt more about the wizarding world and how it worked through this book. I remember pining for Winky, believing her treatment unjust but also feeling annoyed with Hermione for assuming that the elves needed to be freed without researching their culture or their needs. (FYI the film was ruined because without Winky and the inclusion of the Crouch’s backstory the film had no backbone and made little sense.)
Reading as an adult – I started reading Harry Potter fan fiction when I was nineteen. It opened up a whole new world for me and showed me that the feelings I had for the series were shared by others. Having delved into fan fiction, my appreciation for certain aspects from the original series became more annoying or uninformative. However, I still felt a strong sense of kinship for the original series and still delighted in reading them. As an adult, the main spark I get from reading this book is how idiotic Dumbledore is. By this point in the series, I have little doubt that Dumbledore is a terrible person with goals only known to his ‘greater good’ mantra. I think as a character, Dumbledore has a lot to answer for and had his actions been the actions of a muggle he would be facing time in prison for all that he has done.
I cannot in good conscious stand behind Dumbledore as a character for he has let too many things slide by. In this book it was the inability to protect Harry from the trials of the Goblet of Fire, the neglect of clearing Sirius’s name or offering protection while he was on the run. Dumbledore never once realised his long-time friend Alastor was and impostor and failed or ignored that the Tournament was one big set-up by Voldemort.
Overall Rating – As a ten-year-old I would have given this 11 stars out of 10. As an adult I give it a solid 9 stars out of 10. Simply because my opinion has changed over time and my willingness to accept all plot points has decreased. However, Goblet of Fire is still one of my top ten books, in fact, it still resides in the top spot.