Friday, May 3, 2013

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [Re-Read]

Goblet of Fire turns out to be one turning point for Harry Potter series. It is where Harry Potter is no longer children literature, and from this fourth series on it would become much deeper and darker. Even amidst the splendor and glittering of Quidditch World Cup, Rowling slipped for the first time the Dark Mark signal. Things are now getting serious, especially for Harry when the Triwizard Tournament takes place in Hogwarts. But the real blow is the rising of Voldemort, Cedric Diggory’s murder and the chaos in wizardry world after having been in a prosperous era for thirteen years. No wonder there are people (and most of the wizardry world) who denied the idea that Voldemort has returned. It’s not only about accepting ideas, but Voldemort’s rising would turn over the whole aspects in their world. It’s enormously difficult for greedy people like Cornelius Fudge to admit it, because it would mean a disaster for himself. And that’s why this book should be read by adults or young adults at least, who deal much with the real life, because what happens in this story might happen in the real world.

Like always, I would share my random thoughts during my re-reading of this book. Frankly speaking—except for the Quidditch Cup and Triwizard Tournament—I have forgotten almost the whole story. So, this second reading worked as refreshing and rekindling my feeling about it.

Speaking of the much darker theme of this book, even in the first lesson of the Defense Against Dark Arts class, Harry—in the midst of his cheerful moments in Hogwarts—must have thought painfully about his parents’ die. Here’s a child who never knew and couldn’t even imagine how his parents had died. From the beginning, Harry’s life was already full of violence…. :(

Now speaking about the Triwizard Tournament, it’s a real spicy bonus from Rowling. It’s a pity that the tournament turns out to be only Voldemort’s tool to get Harry, and thus it’s far from fair. I don’t think Harry would even be a strong competitor if he doesn’t always get clues from others before the tasks. One thing I’m wondering though…we know how Fleur and Krum got their clues for the first task—the dragons; but how do they get to know the second one? I don’t think Cedric would tell them, he told Harry only because he owed Harry the first task’s clue. Now, do you think the fake Moody would bother to tell them? I don’t think so, because it’s going to be easier to let Harry win if two of the champions fail. Do Fleur and Krum find it out themselves only minutes before the task? But that would prove they are really good. I can imagine Krum as a talented wizard, but Fleur…. I doubt it, considering her failing on first task. So, is this another Rowling’s flaw or do you have better idea? :)

I consider this book as the Harry Potters turning point, not merely of the dark theme, but also the touch of humanity Rowling sprinkles into this story. I’m talking about Hermione with her SPEW campaign and elf issue. Actually we have been familiar with the similar issue with pure blood and mudblood issue from the previous series, however here we get some action, some momentum to fight the social injustice. More than status, elf issue means slavery. And from how the elfs (except Dobby) resist to be freed, I’ve been thinking that the real human slavery, as well as colonialism, can go on hundreds of years because people get used to the treatment; until someday, only when there would be someone who’s sensible and brave enough to fight for their independence, they would be fully independent.

And then this came to my mind, how hard it is for us to accept transformation; how difficult it is to make us think outside the box. Being in the comfort zone would always be most of our choices, although we also keep complaining of life being so hard, etc. Wizards don’t want to hear that Voldemort is back; Elfs don’t want to be freed; both because they can’t afford to have their comfort zone to be ripped out from them and to be replaced by something new they know nothing about. That’s pathetic!

Now we come to the sentimental aspects of this book :) Although Cedric’s tragic death seems to be the scene that shed tears the most, it did not touch me the way I did on first reading. On the contrary, scenes of Hagrid in the bitterness of being a half-giant, or Ron of being poor, touched me deeper than anything else throughout the book.

Here’s Hagrid’s wise quote:

“Yeh know what I’d love, Harry? I’d love yeh ter win, I really would. It’d show ‘em all…. Yeh don’ have ter be pure blood ter do it. Yeh don’ have ter be ashamed of what yeh are. It’d show ‘em Dumbledore’s the one who’s got it righ’, letting anyone in as long as they can do magic.”

What a lesson that is, ‘You don’t have to be ashamed of what you are!”. Bravo Hagrid!!

And my most heartbreaking scene came from the following passage, this time Ron’s speaking to Harry when they both knew that Leprechaun’s money was fake, it’d disappear after few days. Ron just realized that the Leprechaun’s money he got from Quidditch World Cup, which he gave Harry to pay for the thing Harry bought him (I forget the goods, is it Sneakoscope?), never existed. And Harry never told him about this.

The thing is, although he is very poor (and this applies to the whole family, not only in Ron), Ron never asks for pity or begs from others. This is not just a snobbish proud, but a noble principle. The Leprechaun’s gold coins are perhaps the only treasure he has ever possessed; and yet, he gave it to Harry to pay for the gift so that he’d never owe anything to Harry. Ron is so proud that he can give his treasure to his wealthy friend, whom he always secretly envies. So I can imagine how it feels for Ron knowing that he had given Harry false gold coins; and most of all because Harry never mentioned it that just highlighted Ron’s poorness. It hurts so much when people emphasize the fact that you are poor; even when it’s the truth, really! So, when Harry gives Ron an indifferent answer that he never realized about the missing gold coin, Ron breaks down. These passages scratched my heart deeply….

Must be nice, to have so much money you don’t notice if a pocketful of Galleons goes missing.”
I didn’t know Leprechaun gold vanishes. I thought I was paying you back.”
I hate being poor.”

Oh…poor Ron, and with all you must have gone through, being a friend to a wealthy famous Harry Potter, you are a true friend till the end. Really, it’s you who should be called a great wizard, not Potter! Potter got all of it from friendly circumstances, you do all of you’ve done in spite of unfriendly circumstances!

Four and a half stars for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

And to end this review, as usual, I’m summoning Dumbledore here to share his wise words…

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”


*I read ebook version for:*

4th book for Hotter Potter

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