Wednesday, June 5, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Goblet of Fire, Chapters 24-27

For this week's reading assignment, I read Chapter 24 ("Rita Skeeter's Scoop"), Chapter 25 ("The Egg and the Eye"), Chapter 26 ("The Second Task") and Chapter 27 ("Padfoot Returns") . This section of the book continues to solidify my estimation that this is the best book of the series so far. There are so many important things going on in these chapters.

First, everyone is still trying to help Harry cheat. While Harry rejects assistance from Bagman, however, his desire not to receive help comes from an aversion to taking help from Bagman specifically, not an aversion to cheating in general. Most of the people helping him cheat are doing it because they fear for his life, which does make sense, but the fact that Harry doesn't categorically oppose cheating bothers me a little bit. Personally, I still think the best way to help Harry is for the adults to figure out a way to get him out of the magical contract he didn't choose to enter into in the first place. But what kind of story would that be? There's a reason I'm not the author of this series.

I really love the scene where everyone tries to cheer up Hagrid after Rita Skeeter outs him as a giant. I especially enjoyed Dumbledore's line: "Really, Hagrid, if you are holding out for universal popularity, I'm afraid you will be in this cabin for a very long time." I love how loyal Dumbledore is to all the unusual people he allows to teach at Hogwarts, and his little one-liners of wisdom always contain such truth. For all the flaws in his actions surrounding Harry throughout the series, Dumbledore does understand a lot about life.

Another thing that caught my attention and surprised me was that a scene I remembered from the movie - Neville giving Harry the gillyweed - does not appear in the book. It is Dobby, not Neville, who provides the gillyweed, and he does so at the absolute last minute. I think I actually like the movie's approach better in this instance, but because of Hermione's interest in justice for the house elves, it does make sense to involve Dobby.

I also really appreciate the way Rowling sets us up to feel deeply betrayed when Moody turns out to be an imposter. Throughout this series, it always feels safer for Harry when powerful and brave wizards are around. I always breathe a sigh of relief when Dumbledore appears, for example, and I have been having that same feeling about "Moody" in this book. The fact that I feel this way even knowing who he turns out to be really drives home just how shocking it is when his true identity is revealed. I had also forgotten that "Moody" managed to get the Marauders Map away from Harry, but that does make it more plausible for Harry not to realize that the Barty Crouch on the map is actually the man he knows as Moody.

Another little detail I noted struck me as a bit of subtle foreshadowing. When Ron suggests that Snape might be the one who put Harry's name in the Goblet of Fire, Hermione says, "we thought Snape was trying to kill Harry before, and it turns out he was saving Harry's life, remember?" This seems to be a reminder from Rowling not to over-simplify Snape's character and not to take his behavior at face value all the time. This mindset becomes very important in the last two books of the series. I like that Rowling is starting to set up the ambiguity surrounding him by having Hermione voice the possibility that he isn't purely evil.

No comments:

Post a Comment