Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Posted April 9, 2012 by Tara in Review /// 23 Comments

The discs in the audio book has similar artwork to this cover.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by JK Rowling
Scholastic/Scholastic Audio
Audiobook from Public Library
[#28 in my 75 Book Challenge]

First off, let me make it clear that this review IS FULL OF SPOILERS! I’m assuming at this point that everyone has already read the books, seen the movies, or has no interest in doing either (and if that’s the case, why are you reading this?). If you don’t want spoilers, don’t read beyond this point.

Seriously. I’m warning you.

Rereading Harry Potter after all the books and movies are done, over, and available on DVD/in paperback is an interesting experience. I’m not tearing through the novels like I did the first time, so it’s going a little slowly. Let it be known that I LOVE HARRY POTTER and I love how Rowling sets up the series. I love the depth and details in every book. I love the characters and the themes.

That being said, some things annoy the crap out of me. And other things I just don’t understand.

Ten Things I Didn’t Like/Don’t Understand About Harry Potter IV

1.) The length. I feel like we could have chopped out about 50-100 pages and still gotten along just fine. I love the fact that Rowling weaves an epic tale, but this novel in particular feels unnecessarily long.

2.) Dobby. And Winky. And all the house elves. I feel like this whole story line was an afterthought.

3.) The length of the tournament. I don’t quite understand why the tournament has to last all year and why there are months between each task. It seems a little over-the-top to have those Dumstrang and Beauxbatons kids hanging around Hogwarts ALL YEAR for three days of actual tournament. Hold it over a week and be done with it. Geeze.

4.) The logistics of the tournament. Did those Durmstrang and Beauxbatons kids spent an entire year having class on their boat and in their carriage? That seems like a waste. How did they go to class? And is that really necessary? Did the whole school come? It doesn’t make much sense.

5.) Voldemort always shows his mean little face in late spring. Just in time for him and Harry to have a showdown at the end of the school year as a climax to the story. If I were Voldy, I’d show up in October and really scare the shit out of everyone. If I were Harry, I’d catch on to Voldy’s little pattern REAL QUICK.

6.) The portkey. If we are using an object as a portkey to take Harry to Voldemort, why do so much work to make that happen (ahem, Barty Crouch Jr, I’m talkin’ to you)? It seems to me that luring Harry into a portkey trap could be accomplished with far less hooplah.

7.) Voldemort’s LOOOONG graveyard speech. Oh, Voldemort. Voldemort, Voldemort, Voldemort. Is the super-long speech in the Graveyard really necessary? I know you think you are awesome and clever for resurrecting yourself and all, but you go in to a very intense amount of detail for a kid you’re about to kill. I understand the need for narrating the full story here, but no villain (no matter how self-centered) would go into all those random details.

8.) Speaking of Voldemort and random details — why did he expect his followers to come find him in the woods in Albania? Come on! That’s like the world’s hardest game of hide ‘n seek. Needle in a haystack, anyone?

9.) Barty Crouch Jr. I felt like I needed a degree in rocket science to understand the Barty Crouch Jr. situation. I mean, I’ve read the book before and all, but I’d forgotten the details. I almost needed to draw a diagram.

10.) The end. The ending wouldn’t end! I read this as an audio book, and there was a whole disc after the Mad Eye Moody = Barty Crouch Jr. plot is revealed. Rita Skeeter, Fred and George’s joke shop, Hermione and Krum all needed to be wrapped up. But after 700+ pages I was tired and didn’t really need all of that falling action. It’s a series, for goodness sake. I’ve still got three to go!

So there you have it. Ten things that annoyed me about this book. Most of all, though, I did love it. I pick up on different things every time I read the series, and I love the complexities Rowling includes…just not the unnecessary stuff. This time around I definitely noticed how dark the writing is in the scenes of Voldemort’s return, and how scary it all really is. Voldemort is a truly creepy bad guy.

FINAL GRADE:   B+  It’s Harry Potter, for goodness sake. The series gets an A+, but I can’t say that this book gets an A on its own. But it’s Harry Potter. You should read (or re-read) it. Everyone. Everywhere. Always.

Have you read Harry Potter? Re-read Harry Potter? How did it hold up on the re-read? 


Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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23 responses to “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was my least favorite from the series. You really made a point with some of the things you said here. I’m a total Harry Potter nerd myself (notice half my posts are about it), and I automatically become VERY defensive when things are said against it, even if somewhere deep down I kind of agree with them…
    My favorite part about this book was the Yule Ball, where you can see Ron and Hermione’s relationship start to gain a new aspect. I love how it’s portrayed. And I’m also a hardcore Romione shipper… So yeah.

    • Miss Anderson

      When I read this one the first time, it was my favorite in the series! I loved the Yule Ball scenes, too. And the fact that the trio is growing up. Ron and Hermione are my favorite little couple! Maybe I’ll do a top ten list of things I love about the series to counteract my negativity on this one book.

      But the fact that I’ve read it 3 times and own the movie must say that it is more good than bad!

  2. The house elves were a huge part if the last few books. We had Kreature (?) lure Harry Potter to the ministry of magic which resulted in Sirius’s dearth, Dobby who saved Harry Potter countless times as well as the rest of the crew (think Deathly Hallows in the Malfoy’s mansion) and Winky, who was blamed for Creating the Dark Mark in book 4. I do agree with several of them, though. Where did the kids have their classes during the tournament?? I’m going to have to tune in on some of your readers lists of things they love, I’m feeling a bit down about this book now. Can you do a post about your favorite HP book sometime? If you haven’t already…I just started following you.
    I’m looking forward to re-reading them this summer. It’s a summer ritual i have had since I first started reading them” they make me so happy 🙂

    • Miss Anderson

      Yes, you are right about the house elves, I guess. But the SPEW subplot was never one of my favorites. And I will do more positive posting about Harry Potter, I promise. I did reviews of 1-3 that were much nicer. I’m reading 5 right now (my least favorite when I read it originally, but I think I’ll like it better this time around), and 6&7 are my favorites! Those are to come.

  3. loveyalitem

    this book got major points for me because Rowling found an excuse to give us a break from Quidditch! (was so tired of having to listen to the play-by-plays)

    • Miss Anderson

      Oh my goodness, the Quidditch stuff drives me nuts. I used to skip over that stuff…guess sports aren’t my thing!

  4. Miss Anderson, I so admire your professionalism in reviewing a book out of a series on which the author has become a millionaire. Sold billions of copies, I saw on Twitter not long ago. You have my utmost admiration for being brave enough to seriously critique with those 10 points you did not like/did not understand. You are going to do GREAT in your doctoral program!

  5. I started reading Harry Potter at 8, and spent my teen years re reading the series every time a new book was released, until the end, I also read them once every school holidays. I have every original print, with the last three in hard cover. I love them, I’m the biggest fan. I still turn to Harry when I have nothing new to read or nothing else takes my fancy. I don’t think I could ever tire of reading Harry Potter.

    • Miss Anderson

      I certainly don’t re-read them that often, but I know I have read all of them at least twice, and a few of them three times. What I can’t wait for is reading them with my future children when they are the right age!

  6. I love this post so much! It made me lol for real in multiple places. It’s fantastic that you chose to talk about what you DIDN’T love about a book that you love, I think that’s great considering another ‘yay HP’ post at this point is really done.

    If I were Voldy, I’d show up in October and really scare the shit out of everyone. <–spit take. And yeah, he totally monologues at the graveyard. When will villains learn? This is actually one of my favorite books of the series, I adore it, but your points are completely legit!

    • Miss Anderson

      I love this comment! And thank you! I do love all of the HP books, I just think this one has some of the biggest plot holes. The overall themes and story of the novel are great — Harry realizing there is a bigger wizarding world outside of Hogwarts, coming of age, angst, romantic confusion, and the real return of the most evil wizard ever. JK Rowling waited 3 years between books 4 & 5, but only 1 year between 3 & 4. I think with this one she was just pressured to write too much too fast. I certainly couldn’t have done it any better!

  7. I completely agree with the comment about the house elves, could have been meaningful but felt thrown in. I love the humor in the review and your choice to go back to something even though its a book that been around the block a few times, I often find myself having a completely different view of a book if I go back and reread it months or years later.

  8. I know it’s long time ago since this post, but I should write something here
    I LOVEEEEED HARRY POTTER BOOKS & MOVIES, EVERYTHING. It’s the first saga that I’m really impresed with the similarities between the books and the movies; first time I saw first movie of HP, I thought that I had imaniged the characters like them.
    I had only read the books ones, but I’m planning re-read them ^^

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