After Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling’s fourth volume in her successful Harry Potter series was expected to be even better and more climatic. Unfortunately, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a wide jump in content and style from the emotional strength of the third volume and can dissuade an eager reader from continuing the series in general. While Rowling tried to transfer the atmosphere of her children’s series into the more erratic and unfamiliar setting of young adult literature, perhaps the addition of romantic entanglements and complicated friendships make the world of the Harry Potter series seem too dark and obscure too quickly with no transition. It is obvious that with Voldemort’s return and physical revival the environment of the series must change from being childish fantasy chronicles to a literary circle with a purpose. As always, the author expands the boundaries of all magical elements she includes and all new characters as well as scenarios are impressively imagined with visual detail. Her themes are also placed in an interesting, spell-binding order, but certain parts of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire are disappointing in terms of Rowling’s imagination, e.g. the tournament and its tasks. The confrontation between Voldemort and Harry Potter toward the end is characteristically violent but a little too gory. However, the underlying twist is shocking and very well conceived, the best yet that Rowling has come up with. Even though the storyline itself is not a failure, the language and descriptions used within the novel are dense and unperceptive. The Harry Potter series is about human nature, mortality, and the possibility of fantasy tête-à-tête with modern reality, but the length of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is overwhelming, despite that the extensive plot of the entire series is impacted by the story and its events in this particular volume. Nevertheless, it is a volume in the series not to be missed, since it is here that reasons and motives for Rowling’s ideas begin to form and make sense, however tedious is the novel’s build-up of suspense and horror.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is available in local libraries and bookstores in Fresno, and online.
Related articles: One of the most popular fantasy series has a promising start, The sequel is even better than the first, and When does the third volume in a series be one of the author’s best novels?