Wednesday, May 22, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Goblet of Fire, Chapters 17-19

Over the weekend, I read my next installment in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Chapter 17 ("The Four Champions"), Chapter 18 ("The Weighing of the Wands"), and Chapter 19 ("The Hungarian Horntail"). Spoilers below for the entire series as always.

Though I remembered most of the plot in broad strokes, there was a lot happening that I didn't remember as clearly. For one thing, I'd forgotten about Ron's anger and jealousy toward Harry, and his assumption that Harry did put his name in the goblet but just kept it from him. In some ways, this rift in their friendship foreshadows their bigger disagreement in the final book of the series. Like their fight in that final book, this one also helps the reader to see Ron as more than just the comic relief or the loyal sidekick.  He's my favorite character, so I am always appreciative when Rowling takes the time to give him a little more depth. I'm looking forward to their friendship being repaired, but I do like that Rowling is adding some believable tension to it.

I also found myself getting angry at Rita Skeeter. As becomes more evident when Dolores Umbridge comes on the scene, Rowling does a really good job of writing obnoxious, self-serving adults. Skeeter, though not as evil as Umbridge, definitely pushes a lot of buttons for the reader. (Parallels to the way the current mainstream media likes to distort certain news stories may have made her behavior seem more egregious than it did the first time.)

The other thing I want to mention is that that it kind of made me laugh that, before the first task even begins, Hagrid is helping Harry to cheat. Obviously, in the grander scheme of things, Harry should never have been permitted to compete, and indeed has been placed in the Triwizard Tournament in order that harm should come to him, so it makes sense that all the adults in his life feel compelled to keep him safe through whatever means necessary. But I still chuckled a bit at how Harry is always always an exception. Ron's position is definitely understandable. Also, it seems a little odd to me that an underage wizard is bound by this magical contract when he didn't opt into it himself. Surely Dumbledore could have prevented this whole thing somehow!

I have a general memory of how things proceed from here, but not much in the way of specifics, so I'm actually looking forward to finding out what happens next. I'll also be curious to see if I find more parallels between Harry's trials in the tournament and those he endures later when seeking out the horcruxes.

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