Thursday, May 2, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Goblet of Fire, Chapters 5-8

My latest reading assignment for #YearOfHarryPotter was Chapters 5-8 in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: "Weasley's Wizard Wheezes," "The Portkey," "Bagman and Crouch," and "The Quidditch World Cup."

As much as I love Hogwarts, I also really enjoy it when Rowling takes us outside of the castle and into the world, where wizards and Muggles cross paths. I love the way these chapters explained how major wizarding events are planned right under the noses of unsuspecting Muggles, and I loved how terribly some wizards failed to blend in. I have always felt a little strange about the idea of "obliviating" Muggles who start to get wise to the fact that odd things are happening around them, but the idea that maybe we've met wizards and then "forgotten" about them does add to the magic of the series.

I also like the way Rowling uses the Quidditch World Cup as an opportunity to introduce the seemingly minor characters who have a connection to later events in the book: Barty Crouch, Amos and Cedric Diggory, and Viktor Krum. Unlike the time turner in the last book, which Rowling keeps hidden from the reader until it becomes useful, these characters are established in the world of the story long before the moments when they become influential to Harry's storyline.

The Weasley family dynamics in this chapter also reveal a lot: Percy's sycophantic attitude toward his superiors at the Ministry of Magic and smugness toward his brothers, Mrs. Weasley's concerns that the twins will never grow up to have serious jobs, and her disapproval of Bill's fang earring. These little sources of conflict help to establish the quirks and flaws of this family, and in the case of the twins' future, it's a bit bittersweet knowing that Fred ultimately doesn't live long enough to pursue a future career at all.

My next assignment, will finally get into the meat of this story, with the appearance of the Dark Mark, Harry's arrival at Hogwarts for his fourth year, and the announcement of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. There has been so much in just the first 100 pages of this book that I did not remember from my first reading. I can't wait to see what else will resurface as this re-read continues!

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