on July 12, 2000
Many stories have striven to catch the minds of its readers, or its listeners for that matter. From the beginning of time people have made daring attempts at concocting amusing and diverting tales, but J.K. Rowling has spun a most convincing story. Since the introduction of Harry Potter to the public, thousands upon thousands, undoubtedly millions, of every race, age, and religion, have fallen under his spell. After reading the fourth, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Finished it in less than three days; I couldn't put it down!), I have to let it be know that Ms. Rowling does not disappoint. As every preceding Potter book starts off, the newest is no different: Harry is staying with his insufferable relatives, the Dursleys. And as always, he has found a new, more creative and exciting means of shortening his summer stay with his Aunt, Uncle, and cousin. Trouble invariably manages to find Harry, even at his seemingly secure refuge. Lord Volde-- oh, goodness, excuse me!-- he-who-must-not-be-named is at his strongest, and Harry is facing greater risk than ever before. This is Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts, and he is now fourteen years old. So along with life-threatening situations, almost losing a best friend, meeting new foes, dealing with old ones- namely Professor Snape and Draco Malfoy, and managing to get most of his homework done, Potter must also deal with the anguish and misery of being a teenager. Take it from me, I'm seventeen years old, and it's hard for me to believe that J.K. Rowling hasn't just experienced the cruelty of peers and at the same time, the exciting prospects that come with the whole "Being a Teen" package. Fearing that I might give too much away, I'll leave you with this tidbit: You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll learn how to pronounce Hermione, but most importantly, you'll want to read more, and become a better person because of it.
on August 19, 2000
I had read the first 3 novels In the Harry Potter series and had found them extremely enjoyable page turners, Rowling creates a complete, magical world and her characters are always perfectly developed: You cheer when Harry stands up to Snape, You scowl inside when Malfoy turns up and you feel safe and secure when Dumbledore's around. But quite simply, the extrodinary and sensational "Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire" leaves the previous books In the dust. From the opening chapter you realise this Isn't going to be your average Harry Potter book, a character suspected of murder Is himself murdered at the hands of Lord Voldemort. I had always felt a Harry potter novel didn't get exciting until the story reached Hogwarts, this time Harry, Ron and Hermione travel to see a Qudditch World Cup which doesen't leave you dosing off waiting for the Hogwarts Express. But from then on the pace becomes consistently quicker, Harry's name Is put In a "Goblet Of Fire" which chooses contestants for a tournament involving other schools of witchcraft and wizardry. Harry is helped throughout the tournament by a new teacher "Mad Eye Moody" someone who you begin to trust throughout the story. Harry makes his way through the tournament tasks and unexpectactly finds himself face to face with Lord Voldemort, resulting In the death of not a prominant, but significant character. By the end things have got so messy you can only cringe at the things which are no doubt to come. This Is by far the most compelling instalment In the series. I've read critics complain Rowling Is writing directly at a more adult audience, this Is definetely not the case; For a start, Rowling already holds a huge adult audience with these books, parents enjoy them just as much as their children, also (like Harry himself) Rowling's prime audience of 8 to 12 year olds are growing up as well, I think It's fitting that children can grow up with these stories as they themselves become more mature. Although for especially young children of anyone under seven, parents should defineteley read along, the last hundred or so pages can be frightning and sometimes shocking. And as Dumbledore explains the stories events to Harry (and readers) Rowling has you flipping back hundreds of pages to realise just how intricately intwined the plot really Is. Simply an amazing read from cover to cover, "The Goblet Of Fire" Is to the previous Instalments what "The Empire Strikes Back" was to "Star Wars", It gives the series deeper meaning and makes an already enjoying tale Into something better than you thought It could be.
on December 18, 2000
It surprises me that these books have caused such a ridiculous ruckus, yet the Phil Pullman "His Dark Materials" trilogy hasn't seemed to raise an eybrow outside of listservs (where they are enthusiastically discussed.) NOTE: This is in no way encouraging any criticism of Pullman. His books are simply wonderful.
I feel badly that Rowling has taken such heat for a series that continues to astound. With each book, the world she has created comes together in a much more cohesive fashion. Book 4 is notable not only for its innovations and adventure (it's a bold move on Rowling's part to have an entire school year with no Quidditch matches, at the same time, it makes sense and keeps us from getting tired of repetition.) Another high point is that Rowling develops her stories, and adds secondary characters from the other books to help the story move forward. Did you think you'd seen the end of the house elves,Sirius Black, Moaning Myrtle or the Dementors? Guess again. Rowling uses them in this book in interesting ways. By doing this, Rowling also makes each book an essential part of the whole, and every sign is pointing us forward to book 5.
Another strong point of the book is the return of all of our favorite characters, and the newest developments. Is there some kind of romantic tension between Ron and Hermione? Perish the thought, but Rowling skillfully doles out soap opera, humor, and horror and balances it very carefully. Rowling also doesn;t spare her magic characters either. For the past three books, we kind of were split along the "magic good, muggles bad" lines... this is fine,except every reader of the book (including Rowling)is a Muggle. At times, it almost became embarrassing to see non-magical characters seen as lumpish, dumb and slovenly. In this book, we see that all the magical beings are not so perfect and pure either, most notably in a rather disturbing scene at the World Quidditch Cup matches where Muggles are hapless victims of a cruel prank. This is good as it begins to erase the rather polarized lines that Rowling had developed, and allows us to question our own black and white beliefs (i.e., not every oppressed group reacts to oppression in a noble fashion.) Rowling also gives us the sense of political awakening in Hermione, as she sees the injustice in the situation of the house elves. I am interested to see this situation explored more in other novels.
This book is, so far, the darkest of the lot. But Harry bravely faces these challenges (including an exciting and darkly terrifying climax.) But don't let that dissuade you from reading this 4th book. The only real complaint is that Rowling is hinting that she may wait 2 years to release the next book. I hardly find this fair, as the first three books were released all in the span of one year. 2 years is too long of a wait, and I think a bit unfair to her loyal readers. But, we'll see. In the meantime, I may just begin to read the series over again to kill time until the next book. I suspect I am not the first person to do that either.
on July 10, 2000
I found "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" to be just as exciting and entertaining as the previous books, if not more so. Rowlings is a great storyteller, and all her familiar trademarks are here: the colorful and eccentric characters, the humor, the playful use of words, the masterful cultivation of suspense. The book is over seven hundred pages long, but at the end you'll be wishing it were longer. There isn't a slow spot in it.
The story is, however, different in some ways from the previous ones. It's a lot darker and scarier, for one thing. Voldemort and his supporters play a prominent role in it, and their malice forms a palpable undercurrent in the plot from chapter one on. By the end of the story, you get to see just HOW evil Voldemort and his minions actually are. And let me tell you, they're pretty evil.
The other big difference is that Harry, Ron, Hermione and their friends are starting to grow up. The boys and girls have begun to notice each other now, and all the familiar problems of adolescence--jealousy, insecurity, fear of rejection, desire to fit in--or stand out--are starting to descend on them. I enjoy seeing the characters evolve in this way, but those who would rather they stay eternal 11-year-olds may be disappointed.
The story is not as self-contained as those in the previous books. Many plot lines are left open at the end, presumably to be resolved in books #5, 6, and 7. If you think you had a hard time waiting for "Goblet of Fire" to come out, wait till you finish it and are left thinking about the next one!
All in all, I highly recommend this book. If you're already a Harry Potter fan you won't be disappointed, and if you're not, reading it might very well make you one.
on August 30, 2000
I have decided to write my review on the most mystifying fact about Harry Potter- The Ban. The leading complaint is that Harry Potter 'promotes witchcraft' But, why does that matter? It isn't like we can get ideas from the book and hex our friends, is it? If this was true, I would have long since bought out most of Diagon Alley. Another prospect is that if your children honestly believe this world exists, then you have more problems that just witchcraft to worry about! Another point to ponder, as they say, is the man behind most of the banning HAS NEVER EVEN READ THE BOOK! He claims it is 'clearly unappropriate for all Christians and I don't need to read it to know that' I am a Christian and a Harry Potter fan, and I don't see any conflict whatsoever in the two. [...] Thank you for reading my review. I hope you liked the book, too.
on July 8, 2000
What can I say about such an overly hyped book as this? Only that is was well worth the wait! For all of you who have never read any of the Potter books (could there really be people who haven't read at least one?) think of these books as a series of magical mysteries.
It's life as usual for Harry at the beginning of the book, which has him spending yet another dreadful summer with his hateful guardians, the Dursleys. (Imagine Dudley Dursley on a diet! Try saying that 3 times fast...) Things pick up when Harry goes to the Quiddich World Cup with the Weasleys. And life at Hogwarts is as interesting (and occasionally dangerous) as always with it's oddball assortment of students and professors. Naturally, there is a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher (my but they do keep going through them, don't they?) Along the way, we will learn about other schools like Hogwarts (it's about time!) And a new villain - or should I say villainess - is introduced. Someone who definately keeps Harry on his toes. All the while Harry and his 2 best friends, Ron and Hermione, become entangled with the mystery of The Goblet of Fire....
With characteristic abandon, Rowling creates familiar busy backdrop for Harry and friends as she pushes him through a series of terrifying encounters, the usual mischief and mayhem, new revelations (and, of course, rousing games of Quidditch)
It's delightful to see how Rowling can stay true to the feel of the previous books, and yet allow Harry and friends to mature (ex: As the kids are officially teenagers now, hormones will kick in for Harry, Ron and Hermione... but they all fall in love with the wrong people! Harry especially has some difficulties in this area.)
Be prepared: this is a darker book than the first 3. Some well known characters die -- one of whom is well liked by readers. The ending of the book is frightening compaired to the previos books but is a necessary evil for Harry as the older he gets, the more he learns about his past. JK Rowling has stated that each new book gets progressively darker so as to tie in with the overall plot.
As always she writes with a deft touch. This deliciously suspenseful novel is every bit as gripping and imaginative as the previous books -- full of unexpected twists and turns. A delight to be savored, especially you are, like me, already awaiting the next one.
on July 19, 2000
J.K. Rowling has done it again! Her first three installments in the Harry Potter series were outstanding, she has outdone herself once more with the Goblet of Fire . I am only 13, but I know a remarkable book when I see one. The way Miss Rowling began the book was very intriguing. Harry Potter and his friends are introduced to situations that children around the world face everyday, with magic and fantasy added. Quite frankly you know you are reading an excellent book when you can't put it down until 2 a.m., which is common for Harry Potter enthusiasts such as myself. You get to both love and despise the characters in the book. You cannot expect things to happen in the Harry Potter series because of how shifting the topics are. At the end of each chapter you want to read on. Unexpected happenings pop-up all over the book. In my opinion the Harry Potter books have terrific characters, plots, and they are filled with the imagination of a child, which makes the Harry Potter series so unique.
on July 12, 2000
The 4th Harry Potter book is GREAT! Why? Because J.K.Rowling used a lot of imagination (making up all the spells and coming up with the Triwizard Tournament...). Compared with the first 3, it's much longer, but it has more suspense and surprises. The book is also easier to read than other books I have read: The Hobbit, Lord of the Ring - for example. (although their stories are also exciting). It's SOOOO good, that I couldn't put it down- so I finished it in 2 days, with time for shopping and swimming (I had to go with my parents...). The part when Harry goes to a real Quidditch match gets really exiting (With the Dark Mark and Death eaters-the servants of Lord Voldemort). Most of the new characters come from the other wizarding schools(like Durmstang). When Dumbledore anounces that Hogwarts will be participating in the Triwizard Tournament, the whole school was exited. Who gets to represent Hogwarts? (Only anyone over 17). But you can guess who, I bet. The other night 2 ladies were arguing on TV over wether Harry Potter was a good book or not. One of them said it was bad because of witchcraft, witches and spells. The other one said that Harry Potter was a good book for kids to read because it's only fantasy. I agree with her and, like science fiction, I can tell it's not REAL. Harry is not on the bad side- he's against it and he is fighting it. Harry Potter books are fun to read, and they're really interesting too!
on July 11, 2000
I don't really care for "fantasy" type books
Yet I find myself unable to put down this book
I've read the rest of the books, and each one mounts more tension. I was very doubtful at the series when my little sister was trying to get me to read it ("it's about WIZARDS! stop bugging me") but once I started the first book, I was hooked. The reason I like it is because the way it is written and the story, you feel like you are actually THERE, at Hogwarts, as Harry Potter. Books have never done that for me.
I put it down and I'm just like: whoa, I'm at home.....
This latest book is a little darker than previous ones, it's a lot longer too, but all the better.. more time to spend as Harry! The ending is full of suspence and is spectacular. I was almost shaking with excitement as I read. The author leaves it hanging a little at the very end: I can't wait for the next one to come out! This book was definatly worth my money (the little of it I have.) The hours of enjoyment make it worth every penny.
on July 19, 2000
What can one say? This is not for muggles who are weak at heart! A fantastic rollercoaster ride of suspense, treachery and of course magic! J.K Rowling is on her way to being one of the best fantasy writers of the 21st century.
Forget that nonsense that Harry Potter books are "Just for Kids". I am 32 years old, and although a kid at heart, I find I can not put these books down. Yes, it's long - but I still flew through it, it's hold on the reader is that strong!
All I can say is, Ms. Rowling - keep 'em coming! You say you can't write a book in 6 months - well, I hope you won't keep us waiting too long for book 5! I must find out what is happening! Danger and intrigue lie ahead for young Potter, so I say - "Accio Book 5! "