Wednesday, June 12, 2019

#YearOfHarryPotter: Goblet of Fire, Chapters 28-30

I read three chapters last week: Chapter 28 ("The Madness of Mr Crouch"), Chapter 29 ("The Dream"), and Chapter 30 ("The Pensieve"). There are spoilers in this post for this book and the entire series.

These chapters were completely lost to my memory, and I may as well have been reading them for the first time. I had no recollection whatsoever of the hate mail Hermione receives after Rita Skeeter publishes lies about her in the newspaper. I had also forgotten the mystery surrounding Skeeter's ability to gain access to inside information at Hogwarts. I remember, of course, that she is an animagus, and I know that comes out before the end of this book. I just didn't remember that the question of how she got into Hogwarts went unanswered for so long. I also find myself really appreciating the role of poor journalism in this story. It resonates with a lot of what happens with the media in our current culture, and it also sets us up for the questions about who to trust and when that will come up in the last three books of the series. 

I also didn't remember Krum and Harry coming upon a deranged Barty Crouch, nor did I remember Harry letting himself into Dumbledore's office by guessing the password. I did remember Harry using the Pensieve, but what was in my mind was the movie version of events which somehow seemed more dramatic than the memories he experiences in the book, and I'd also forgotten that this is when we first learn exactly what has happened to Neville's parents. Similarly, I remembered Harry's vision of Voldemort and Wormtail, but not the fact that he passed out during Divination class. I was surprised too, that Harry actually did what an adult told him to do when he had this vision; so many times in this series, Harry does not go to Dumbledore when he should, so the fact that he heeds Sirius's warnings is encouraging.

The one plot line I am finding really superfluous at this point is the question of whether house elves should be freed. I recall liking Dobby well enough on my first read through the series, but this time, he is annoying to me in a very Jar Jar Binks-esque way. It definitely makes sense for Hermione to take up such a cause; it's just not that interesting to read about anymore, and it seems like the elves are mostly being used as a narrative device to add more tension and suspicion surrounding Barty Crouch.

Only two more sets of chapters before the end of this book! Though I definitely remember what happens in broad strokes, I'm really looking forward to discovering all the little details that have escaped me over the last 15+ years.

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