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Customer Review

95 of 118 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My least favorite of the Potter novels. The plothole killed it for me., October 17, 2007
This review is from: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire (Paperback)
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:
Deathly Hallows
Prisoner of Azkaban
Order of the Phoenix
Philosopher's Stone/Chamber of Secrets (I rank them both the same)
Half-Blood Prince
Goblet of Fire.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 22, 2007 9:04:36 PM PDT
This is the worst? One of my favorites. Don't know what you're talking about.

Posted on Aug 21, 2008 5:31:23 AM PDT
Brian says:
It is a shame you are hung up on the minutiae of the plot to the point that it ruins your appreciation of the book as a whole. There is actually a good bit more to nitpick over throughout the Harry Potter books, but the fundamental literary experience justifies the suspension of disbelief.

Posted on Nov 27, 2008 8:28:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2008 8:31:21 AM PST
Perhaps you are being a silly goose. What is better for Voldemort's enjoyment? A. Taking Harry away at any old time he pleases. Or, B. Taking Harry away, to kill him, at the very time that Harry seems to win a terrific triumph? Remember: Voldemort is all about power, power, power. Which shows him to be more powerful?

Yep, Rowling got it right.

Posted on Dec 8, 2009 6:33:37 PM PST
Joe says:
off the top of my head i can't think of place in the book where this plothole is filled. But, if you read very closely, there are many many plotholes in these books. they are often small, and can be explained by the fan community, but Rowling doesn't bother spelling it out explicitly in the books. this is fine with me. when you have a completely fictional story than spans 7 massive books, you can't expect it to be rock solid.

Posted on May 8, 2011 12:30:56 PM PDT
some dude says:
What seems like a much bigger hole to me is that the fake Moody is pretty much the same as the real Moody, as far as we can tell. In fact he's a pretty great guy, isn't he? That's a crazy thing to ask readers to swallow! The portkey problem could be written off easily, as this review points out, and though Rowling didn't do so, it's much easier to just pretend she did so than it is to accept that some dude managed to take on the whole personality of some other, very very different dude for a year.

But it was still a good book. :)

Posted on May 8, 2011 12:49:31 PM PDT
some dude says:
...Then again, I guess we don't actually see all that much of the real Moody later, so maybe I'm mostly only assuming the two are similar. And I just read somebody else's review that claims the clues about "Moody"'s identity are all there before the big revelation, if you look for them... well, crap, maybe I'll have to read all these books again sometime.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 7:37:46 AM PDT
Y. Liu says:
But, the problem is, if one could get in and out of Hogwarts freely just by using a portkey, it would make the whole story in book 3 look stupid: what was the point that they made so much effort to guard every entrance of Hogwarts when anyone could get in through a portkey?

Posted on Jun 1, 2011 5:43:44 AM PDT
Z. Winking says:
The problem remains: Are the Portkeys in some way, the same thing as apparation? Hogwarts is protected from that form of magic, no?

It's all sketchy, but I think my point makes sense. Should see if Rowling could explain, though.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2011 1:14:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 2, 2011 1:37:18 PM PDT
Nico1908 says:
"The problem remains: Are the Portkeys in some way, the same thing as apparation? Hogwarts is protected from that form of magic, no?"

As far as we learn from the books, Dumbledore is the only person who can Apparate into and out of Hogwarts. He can also make Portkeys (he makes one to transport the Weasleys after their dad has been attacked by Nagini - I forgot which book that's in. OotP?). If Portkeys follow the same rules as Apparating, only Dumbledore could have made the Triwizard Cup a Portkey. That seems rather unlikely. If Portkeys do not follow the same rules, we are back to square one.

What bothers me is that we shouldn't even have to speculate about this. The author should have anticipated and answered the question in the book because otherwise it leaves a blatantly obvious plot hole.

Posted on Sep 9, 2011 1:25:59 PM PDT
I agree with the commentators that the portkey issue can easily be written off. Here is a good explanation, the magic of Hogwarts usually prevents the use of a portkey, similar to the way you cannot apparate into the school. But, the uniqueness of the Triwizard games allowed a mixing of magic that created a special circumstance that Crouch exploited.
I could imagine transporting a Sphinx takes a very special caliber of magic that is not ever present at the school.
Other plot holes however, do bother me but not to change my love of the books. One such as Moody's ability to see through Harry Potter's cloak-given that this is later revealed to be a Deathly Hallow. Even Death himself is not supposed to find the man/woman who wore this cloak. And the other hole, so to speak is Harry's ability to see thestrals. Why is it turned on when Harry witnessed Cedric dying but not his mother or Quirrell? There are a few regarding Petunia's knowledge of the wizarding world-given she grew up alongside Lily.
In the many years since my first read of these books, I occasional revisit the novels. It is nice to squeeze a read about Quidditch or house elves, in between my books on credit default swaps, and Sarbanes Oxley. It is a beautiful piece of literature and I grow more enamored with them upon each read-occasionally changing which one is my favorite. Don't let that muggle theory bother you-its magic after all.
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