Reading Response: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

J.K. Rowling’s novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire follows the story of
Harry Potter during his fourth year at Hogwarts, a school for young wizards. The book continues Rowling’s now-infamous storyline of Harry and his friends as they deal not only with normal school problems, but also with a dark wizard intent on gaining power and defeating Harry. This particular novel covers a magical competition taking place at Hogwarts in which Harry is chosen to compete. While he works to be as normal as a fourteen-year-old wizard can be, he realizes how different he is. This turns out to be more than anyone expect as, “in his case, different can be deadly.”

Along with the previous three books in the Harry Potter series, Rowling spends multiple chapters developing and building up the story. In fact, the first 157 pages of the 734-paged book take place outside of the main setting of Hogwarts. Rowling not only uses this time to introduce the characters but to also remind the reader of the main struggle Harry is tasked with facing over the entire seven book series. Within the first chapter, Rowling once again introduces the villain that is Voldemort and uses his dialogue to establish how cunning he truly is. Everything he plans regards Harry Potter and as he says, “I have my reasons for using the boy, as I have already explained to you, and I will use no other. I have waited thirteen years. One more death and our path to Harry Potter is clear.” This is one of the only scenes written primarily on the villain yet it provides insight on what the main character will have to face later on.

Throughout the book, the significance of Voldemort is not forgotten. Even during the competitions, classes, and feasts, Rowling makes a determined effort to remind the reader of the impending doom that awaits Harry. One of the most common ways she does this is with the reminder of Harry’s forehead scar which occasionally causes him pain. As he writes to his godfather, ” a weird thing happened this morning, though. My scar hurt again. Last time that happened it was because Voldemort was at Hogwarts. But I don’t reckon he can be anywhere near now, can he?” Rowling works in a manner that is anything but blatant to keep the reader from forgetting the importance of this conflict.

One thing that can overshadow this conflict is the characters. Each one keeps the reader interested in a different way and their unique struggles add to the building storyline. Whether it be Hermione the genius, Ron the best friend, Neville the worrier, or Malfoy the stereotypical bully; each one adds their own unique elements to Harry’s adventures. Along with varying characters, Rowling uses a magical setting and dangerous sets of circumstances to draw the reader in. She establishes an adventure that causes the reader to follow along just to learn what happens next. Even past all the magical aspects, the reader is reminded of a dark evil and continues to wonder how it is at work in the seemingly amazing world of Harry Potter. In order to find those answer, the reader must take hold of Harry’s world and go on the adventure with him.

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