Thursday, September 29, 2005

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J K Rowling

Author: J K Rowling
ISBN # 0747582386
636 pages

As Harry Potter readies himself for his fourth year at Hogwart’s School for Witchcraft & Wizardry, he has a lot to get excited about – the Quidditch World Cup is being hosted in Britain (& he, along with his friends, Ron & Hermione, has tickets for some of the best seats at the event) & Hogwart’s will be playing hosts to pupils from three wizarding schools from around the world in a competition which was last successfully held four centuries ago. But once again, things are not running smoothly as the Dark Mark, symbol of You-Know-Who, has been seen in the sky, heralding the return of some of his followers, & Harry finds himself the favourite subject of Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet reporter. It’s going to be a tough year – Harry will have to use his wit, strength, magical abilities & the help of his best friends to get him through, & all while he’s struggling just to be a normal 14-year-old!

With more than 600 pages, this is the longest adventure so far for Harry & his friends, but I hardly noticed the extra length as Rowling managed to pack so much action into every scene that it was practically bursting out from between the covers. We have all our old favourites returning (even if some of them, such as Snape, Malfoy & Sirius, are criminally underused) along with a few new characters to busy ourselves with. Once more we see a new member of teaching staff –an ex-auror who has taken up the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts (they never last long, do they?), & it’s not just an influx of new first years arriving this time: We are given rather a treat in that we get to see a few foreign visitors arrive to add a bit of flavour.

This is much darker & more intense than the previous three books, which reflects the fact that Harry is now growing up (the possibility of romance is even briefly brought to the fore, with all the jealousy & insecurity that goes hand in hand with teenage infatuation) & is no longer seeing things through the eyes of a child. We are also shown a little more of Voldemort’s history & that of his followers, which adds to the tension considerably & gives more of an air of danger than was evident prior to now.

In my opinion, this is the best so far (having not yet read Order of the Phoenix or Half Blood Prince) & I’ll be grabbing both of those at the weekend to devour!

Rating: 9/10


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