Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on July 19, 2014
This is definitely an important book in the Harry Potter series, combining many previous events and plot points with new and challenging ones to set up what I look at as a new segment in the saga. Things certainly aren't the same when this year ends.
First, the TriWizard Tournament is being held for the first time in about a hundred years and potential contestants from two other schools come to Hogwarts, the tournament's host, to earn the honor of representing their institutions by competing in three challenging and potentially lethal tasks. But things quickly go wrong as a fourth "champion" is selected by the magical selection goblet, otherwise known as the Goblet of Fire. Harry Potter becomes that fourth champion despite having not entered himself in any way and there having never been more than three champions, one per school, in the history of the tournament.
Nevertheless magically bound to compete, Harry works to prepare himself while half of Hogwarts, including his best friend, Ron Weasley, stands against him under the belief he somehow entered himself to steal the fame and glory, an argument some have made in the past in regards to various events. Meanwhile, mysterious things are going on at Hogwarts, involving people long-believed dead and/or loyal followers of Lord Voldemort.
As always, Hermione Granger is my favorite character and she really does prove herself quite useful in many ways. Ron going nuts over her relationship with Harry's fellow competitor, Victor Krum, is generally amusing. I found it really funny when Hermione explained how she had done her hair all nice and neat for the Yule Ball and then added that she wouldn't make that a daily habit as it was too much work...really, you can't just flick your wand and make it happen in like a second? That whole matter is only topped by her comment about Ron having the emotional range of a teaspoon.
Alastor Moody, a.k.a. "Mad-Eye" Moody, the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher who's "seen it all", was my favorite faculty member. I know there's more too him, so I'm judging based on pre-revelation events. The incident where he turned Malfoy into a ferret is something I could read over and over again. Moody was a class act!
While I missed Hogwarts Quidditch, I did get the Quidditch World Cup, which also gave us a chance to catch up once more with characters who would otherwise not be in this book (i.e. Oliver Wood.) The World Cup was enjoyable, though I'd love to know how Bulgaria's team felt about their Seeker's personal strategy.
The tournament tasks at Hogwarts were also pretty cool, but I question the need to spread them out across a year...I could probably squeeze it all into three weeks. I'm sure there's a lot of tradition to it, but it gets very much in the way of the students' education, as there's no indication that exams are called off for anyone besides the competitors. Also, what do the students from Beauxbatons Academy and Durmstrang Institute do all year. Only one of them is competing. It's nice they stick around to cheer on their "champion" but do they just miss a whole year of school?
Ultimately, I am nit-picking when it comes to the problems I have. This was a great book which gave us a real big turning point in the series as a whole. It presented a climax normally reserved for perhaps the penultimate installment of a series and promised that nothing would falter in the coming books. Given the quality of the first four books, I have no concerns about holding this series and J. K. Rowling to that promise. Enjoy.
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