92 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2007
Without a doubt my least favorite of the series. I got into Potter back when only the first three books were out, and quite some time before this book came out, and I was all psyched for it. Then I read it, all 700+ pages of it. While I found it engrossing, it certainly wasn't as good as AZKABAN.
Actually, Amazon ruined the book for me. I was online reading reviews here after I finished the book (this was back in 2000), and one of the reviews pointed out the plothole that why didn't Mad Eye Moody just make a portkey out of anything, rather than make Harry go through all the trouble with the Triwizard Tournament, and I really didn't have any answer to that. So after I finished the book, I didn't read it again for seven years, because this plothole took out the whole point of the book.
When I reread all six books in preparation for DEATHLY HALLOWS this summer (which I finished them all with a week to spare before Hallow's release date), I picked this up again. It had been a long time since I read it, and the plothole always turned me off so much whenever I did reread the Potter books I never could bring myself to read this one.
Going through it a second time, in context with the rest of the series, this is definitely when Potter got into darker territory. But Potter was always dark anyway, and while this is always thought of as the turning point in the series as far as darkness goes, AZKABAN is pretty dark too.
Potter has been enrolled in the Triwizard Tournament, a dangerous tournament that you must be 17 to enter. Potter is entered without his consent, and much too young. Ultimately the three events they must go thru are dangerous and at the end of the third we see Voldemort's plot unmasked.
As far as the plot hole, I've read several different theories on why Voldemort's agent wouldn't have used the portkey before then. One possible explanation, which I wish Rowling would have used, was you can't use portkey within the grounds of Hogwarts, but under this especial circumstance the use of portkeys was allowed at the end of the tournament. Another issue is Barty Crouch Jr. He must truly want to serve Voldemort to do what he did. Still, it would be a lot of work to drink polyjuice potion every hour for a school year straight.
We get the first real death in the series (at least, a character we have come to know and not offscreen or backstory deaths). Poignant, but the death appears more to be included so she can move the series into darker territory than any natural artistic progression.
There are some great scenes in this one, especially the Quidditch World Cup, and introduction of other international schools (a thing we have not yet seen - so far we only know of magic in Britain). Rowling also clearly lays more foundation to Ron and Hermione as a couple, a plotline that would not find full resolution until Book 7. Still, those who always thought Harry and Hermione should end up together, read this book more closely. It's pretty obvious from Book 4 on Ron and Hermione would end up together. There's a lot of sexual tension in the air between those two. Harry, on the other hand, is quite up in the air at this point, though we know in Book 7 who he ends up with.
While it is my least favorite of the Potter books, it's still an entertaining read. This is clearly the book where Rowling moves beyond children as a primary audience and bringing more complexity and maturity to the series, which is the reason why as the books progress they are more adult oriented than the early volumes.
Still, I find myself in the minority. I know a lot of people who love GOBLET. There are certainly some great scenes and memorable passages throughout the book. I just wish Rowling would have fixed the plothole better (and it wouldn't be that hard to fix).
These are my order of Potter books by preference:
Prisoner of Azkaban
Order of the Phoenix
Philosopher's Stone/Chamber of Secrets (I rank them both the same)
Goblet of Fire.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2000
I don't suppose anyone will ever see this coda, but recently (2012) I have been re-reading the series, out loud, to my six year-old daughter. I have a renewed respect fo JK Rowling's talent as a writer - not for her plot or her imaginative universe, but her simple ability to construct an elegant sentence. Reading out loud is a tremendous test of that aspect of a writer's craft. Both the Philosopher's Stone and the Chamber of Secrets are a pleasure to say. I cannot say that. however, of the Goblet of Fire does not. Rowling's prose is noticeably more leaden and convoluted. It is weighed down with unnecessary modifiers. There are thickets of uninteresting incidental details which get in the way of the plot's progression. This is a far less "writerly" effort. I wonder whether the demands of the publisher's schedule became overwhelming, for it feels verily like the sub-editing stage has been skipped on this book. To such a point that I don't think I can bring myself to start the next one.
(I have downgraded my rating).
After three books you couldn't help noticing a pretty rigid plot formula in the Harry Potter books: Harry starts out in Privet Drive, goes to Hogwarts, singlehandedly wins a vital Quidditch match, encounters either a mysterious but seemingly friendly character who turns out (a) to have an anagram for a name and (b) be in the service of Voldemort, but eventually manages to save the day, without completely squashing you-know-who.
The good news is that while not abandoning her idiom, in The Goblet of Fire JK Rowling has allowed herself to drift loose of these moorings and evolve Harry's world: the wizarding universe is significantly different at the end of this book than it was at the beginning. You couldn't say that about the first three.
With each book Rowling has developed her literary aspirations: the Goblet of Fire is pretty baroque compared to the roughly-hewn Philosopher's Stone. I think she manages to stay the right side of the self-indulgence line, though: it remains to be seen whether Rowling can resist the temptation to stray over it next time round.
Rowling's instinctive gift for storytelling is generally absorbing but is by no means perfect: at the end there is some fairly ham-fisted dialogue that exists only for plot exposition. While she isn't the first writer to lean on this particular shovel (Conan-Doyle's Dr Watson character existed almost exclusively to allow Sherlock Holmes to explain parts of the plot Conan-Doyle couldn't be bothered setting out properly) this doesn't mean it isn't a flaw. Ultimately Harry Potter is a wonderful creation, and such sales are an achievement which cannot be explained away as a product of canny marketing or sheer fluke. But this early on, nor can you properly gauge how Harry stacks up against Bilbo Baggins or Aslan the Lion. To my way of looking at it, that's the real test.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2001
Having read the entire series aloud to my 9 year-old (and having enjoyed at least the first book), I have to say that if "Goblet of Fire" had not been part of the Harry Potter series, I doubt it would have been published. The plot meanders, and the language is often awkward and repetitive. It seems, too, that Rowling is increasingly using the convenience of magical "deus ex machinas" to avoid well thought-out plot resolutions. This is one book where bigger is definitely not better. If children are going to invest the time in such a long book, they might be better turning to the classics - the Narnia tales, or even Peter Pan.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2007
The fourth installment of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is a large and meandering work that I found difficult to finish. A 2007 survey of 4,000 Britons ranked Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire #2 among unfinished fiction (32% claimed that they could not get through it). And so, I don't feel alone in feeling that Goblet of Fire is probably the least successful of the first four Harry Potter books.
I would like to point out some good qualities of the book. First, Rowling introduces her young readers to a psychological narrative. Harry's internal struggles come to the forefront of this novel and are presented believably and with care. Hermione's political awakening seems inevitable, and it gives her an identity that is free to develop without comparison to Harry. Ron emerges as one of the best written of Rowling's characters. Unlike Hermione, and certainly unlike Harry, Ron is unable to distinguish himself from the masses. He is so achingly average in every way that his jealousy of his brothers and Harry comes across as more interesting than Harry's problems. Sure, Harry has to deal with the worst person in the world, but heroes as overrated and over written. Ron's struggles are normal struggles that every kid must deal with. Harry is one in a million. Ron is nine hundred thousand in a million.
The addition of romance and hormones was also a good and necessary inclusion. I don't think Rowling writes enough about teen life and sex, but she did at least breach the issue. I thought the Tri-Wizard Tournament was a more interesting plot anchor than Quidditch. In the Tournament, the students use what they learn in school to succeed. Quidditch doesn't seem to have a point beyond physical fitness.
Now, however, I must record some grievances. While I think Rowling has good intentions when she brings in characters from foreign cultures, the foreigners are locked into unimaginative stereotypes. The stuck-up, easily offended French school and the aloof and cool Eastern European school are recognizable as stock, exotic character types.
The plot and subplots of Goblet of Fire are simply all over the place. There are too many facts and events that are withheld from the reader. And I got tired of all of the unbelievable coincidences. This kind of manufactured dramatic tension is annoying, to say the least, but that isn't the worst trick Rowling pulls on the reader. When I got to the end, I was angered that the character I liked the most didn't actually exist. I nearly stopped reading at that point.
And could Voldemort be a more boring nemesis for Harry? Once again, Rowling recycles the old Scooby Doo style of plot revelation where the bad guy tells the meddling kids how his plan worked. And Voldemort talks a LOT. The last few chapters are almost entirely comprised of characters imparting information to the reader. Somehow, Dumbledore knows everything in the end (once again), but he doesn't know it when it would have done Harry some good.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is an unnecessary tome of mediocrity. I didn't learn anything more about Harry, and what's worse, I'm starting not to care. I come to the fifth book reluctantly.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2011
SPOILERS SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
I'm a late-comer to the HP phenomenon. I'd never even heard of it until I heard about the films, and then I didn't even bother to begin reading any of the books until I learned Sorcerer's Stone was going to be showing on a movie channel in 2003 (I think.) By then, book 5 was out so I sat down and read all 5 in roughly 3 weeks. Most of them are good and decently-written, but this one struck me oddly.
The whole point of secretly entering Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire is to make sure he's allowed to compete in the TriWizard Tournament for which he is actually too young AND in spite of the fact that, just by it's name, he should be disqualified. They never do change the name to the "QuadWizard" Tournament. Then all along the way he has to be secretly "helped" by the Evil-and-Polyjuiced DADA teacher so that eventually he is the one to grab the trophy at the end of the last task. The trophy has been secretly turned into a portkey by the Evil-and-Fake DADA teacher to whisk Harry away to the graveyard where his blood will be taken from him and used in a potion to bring Voldemort back to a corporeal form. Now, a whole host of questions tickled at the back of my brain about this particular story, even as I shelved it to start #5.
Why go to aaaalllll that trouble just to get Harry to grab onto a portkey? What was there special about that day and that time and THAT particular object that caused Barty Jr. to decide that turning the TriWizard trophy into a portkey was the best and most efficient way to get Harry to that graveyard? At ANY point during the year, Fake Moody could have just invited Harry to his office for some mundane reason ["I need to give this to you, Potter (and oh, watch out! It's a portkey!")] There may have been some considerable amount of time needed perhaps to prepare a suitable potion, but since turning the trophy into a portkey was determined well in advance, that indicates that Voldy, Barty/Moody and Wormy would know for CERTAIN that THAT day and THAT time would be the one that would best suit them. Why? I wish we'd been given a reason to make it easier to understand all the convoluted machinations that took place during that school year. (UPDATE: Isn't it funny that Voldemort calls Peter Pettigrew by his Marauders' nickname?)
Finally, even with aaaalllll Barty/Moody's help, Harry STILL didn't win the tournament outright, as he and Cedric, even with Barty/Moody working against Cedric and for Harry, wound up taking the trophy together.
But it's not as if Cedric completely ruined pre-Voldy's plans ("And I would have gotten away with it too if it hadn't been for those meddling kids!" -- Any Scoooby-Doo villain) as Wormy simply AK'd poor Ceddy out of existence once he got there with Harry. So even though Barty/Moody failed (a little) he still succeeded (mostly.) So at any point, Barty/Moody would have been able to easily dispatch any of the kids who might've gotten in the way of his mission to get Potter into that graveyard. The whole mess was just so annoyingly contrived.
That doesn't mean it's not a riveting story. It's most definitely breath-holdingly exciting, both in print and on-screen. But it all seemed so unnecessary. However, making sure I like the book is not really the point; the point is to make lots of money for the publishers, filmers, and of course, the writer. EPIC WIN ;)
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2001
This book was really well-written, and it was funny like the others, but it was definately too violent. I think it would scare kids under ten, and make older kids uneasy. I wouldn't really reccomend it. The first two were happier, and even three (which was scarier, too) was better than this. I was disappointed that this book turned out to be so violent.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2000
Well, everybody knows that Harry Potter is really entertaining, well-written, imaginative, etc, so I won't bother explaining what was good about this book. It is a good read at first, it's really involving and hard to put down...
But what is WITH the ending? It makes no sense at all, and by extension the entire book makes no sense. After the twist ending, the plot becomes an illogical mess! This completely ruined it for me. I can't like a book after realising that the entire thing revolves around such a ridiculous oversight. It frustrates and angers me far too much.
[If you do not want the ending revealed, do not read the following:]
So, what is this gigantic plot hole? Well, the entire plot of this book is based on this competition called the Triwizard Tournament that Harry is in. The conclusion of the competition is acquiring a trophy. Various mysterious forces are working to ensure that Harry is allowed into the competition and wins. When he grabs the trophy, guess what? It's a portkey that transports him to Voldemort! Wow, now we realise that this was why Harry was led into the tournament and why it was so important that he won. Sounds good? No! It's not good at all! We know from before that anything can be made into a portkey. So, why the trophy? Why not his toothbrush? Why not some random object sent to him by mail? There's no reason at all for all the time and effort gone into making him win the tournament. The entire purpose of everything in this story could have been accomplished in about one page. Harry opens package owl brings him, Harry touches whatever's inside, Harry is transported. Easy. So WHY did everything in this book even happen? Is Voldemort that dumb? Is he just a big drama queen? Does he want attention more than he wants Harry?
********END OF SPOILER********
So, in conclusion, this story is absolutely ridiculous. I would DIE to be able to ask Rowling what on earth she was thinking, how she could imagine this was any sort of reasonable storyline. And mainly, did she even think about the fact that it makes no sense? But how could you overlook such a thing? How can you write a plot so completely unjustified? There's not even an ATTEMPT to explain why anything mentioned above was necessary. This book completely offends my sense of logic.
The previous Harry Potter books had fairly artificial, forced and somewhat ridiculous plot twists at the end, which seemed to be getting worse... So I suppose even if the ending ruins the logic of the book, it IS the logical progression of the series. That's not a good thing. This is definitely the last one I read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2012
I enjoyed reading some parts of the book, like the times when Harry Potter was facing the tasks in the Twizard Tournament or when he was watching the Quidditch World Cup, but there were lot's of times when the story was quite dull. The first 3 books of the Harry Potter series was great and full of action, but now the fourth book is a bit too long and there was not much funny parts anymore. You'd probaly like this book if you like reading longer books.
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2000
Am I the only person in the world who thinks that this is the most depressing book ever written? Am I the only person in the world who thinks that "watching" Harry being tortured via blood- letting, major scar pain, the fear of death, the death of a friend, trying to save himself while suffering from a long - untreated broken leg, seeing his dead parents, hearing them scream, and Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome from all this is ENJOYABLE! Even worse yet, the last chapter assures us that this is only "The Beginning" of his trials!...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2014
I like the books... BUT, checking out of the Pottermore store is a pain in the okole!
I have never encountered an online store that made you click, click, click over and over again so many times just to get the transaction accomplished!
I really wish we could JUST, PLEASE streamline this process! It is just PAINFUL!