Harry Potter is back in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and this time, the magic gets out of hand!
First, imagine if you will, the sleepy but mysterious village of Little Hangleton, and what happened at the Riddle House. No, the Riddle House is not a place for riddles, but a home where the family died of fright. The man accused of murdering them was eventually released, but when he returns to the Riddle House, he overhears a curious conversation between someone named Wormtail and a terrible, dark presence by the name of Lord Voldemort -- oh, so sorry…He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Volde... (oops, almost said it again) He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is one of the most powerful Dark wizards -- and he wants Harry Potter.
When Harry wakes from a particularly vivid dream, the scar on his forehead throbs, and he knows something is up. Harry's been living in a dreadful house on Privet Drive with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon, and greedy cousin, Dudley. They won't even let him do any wizardry -- you know Muggles, how they can't really handle that kind of stuff.
Harry's uncle and aunt like to let the neighbors think that Harry goes to St. Brutus's Secure Center for Incurably Criminal Boys rather than to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He has to hide his magic -- and even broomsticks aren't a suitable topic of conversation in the Dursley household. But everything is about to change for Harry, beginning with this particular summer vacation.
It starts with a letter from Mrs. Weasley, Harry's friend Ron's mother. She invites him to come spend the rest of the summer with the Weasleys and to go see the Quidditch World Cup. Quidditch is Harry's favorite sport in the world, and it isn't often that the Quidditch World Cup is in Britain. Faster than you can say "Hogwarts," Harry travels by fire to the Burrow, and the dark and threatening adventure begins.
On the way, Harry discovers that his interest in girls is becoming more nerve-wracking -- how is a young wizard to ask a girl to the Yule Ball? And what of the Goblet of Fire itself? And the Triwizard Tournament? And then, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named might be seeking Harry out even now!
Who can resist a Harry Potter tale? J. K. Rowling has proven again that her international success seemed inevitable. It is beautifully written, with a strong narrative and fascinating, unforgettable characters, and there is not a child or adult in the world who won't love this story. Not one word is wasted.
Now, my only problem is I need to find Harry so I can start classes at Hogwarts, soon. I sent him a message by owl, just this morning.
Harry Potter series is a supernatural version of ''Tom Brown's
Schooldays,'' updated and given a hip this-is-how-kids-really-are shine.
And Harry is the kid most children feel themselves to be, adrift in a world
of unimaginative and often unpleasant adults -- Muggles, Rowling calls
them -- who neither understand them nor care to. Harry is, in fact, a male
Cinderella, waiting for someone to invite him to the ball. In Potter 1, his
invitation comes first by owl (in the magic world of J. K. Rowling, owls
deliver the mail) and then by Sorting Hat; in the current volume it comes
from the Goblet of Fire, smoldering and shedding glamorous sparks. How
nice to be invited to the ball! Even for a relatively old codger like me, it's
still nice to be invited to the ball.
New York Times Book Review
Children (and many of us who aren't) have been so anxious for the fourth installment of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series because they are caught up in a breathless adventure, because they have learned to ask the most vital and essential question any reader can: What happens next? "But," the still-puzzled persist, "aren't there other children's books that are just as good?" Perhaps. But for kids, "Harry Potter" is of their time, something that will always be theirs instead of a legacy left to them by a previous generation....Like all great fantasy sagas, the Harry Potter books have grown narratively, morally and psychologically more complex as the series progresses. There is a special pressure on a writer who midway through a series finds herself entrusted with the imagination of a huge number of readers. That Rowling has done nothing to break that faith seems a deed as brave and noble as any her hero has accomplished.
[T]his is storytelling of a high order indeed. It draws the reader in with a riddle and a letter. It proceeds through a series of trials to a great confrontation. And it concludes with a death and a climactic resolution. E.M. Forster famously observed that, 'Yes - oh dear, yes - the novel tells a story'. HP IV is the apotheosis of 'story.'
As usual, Rowling has written a fast-paced story full of surprises. Just when the traitor at Hogwarts seems obvious, it turns out to be someone else. When death strikes, it's a shock. Readers might think they know who's on what side and what they're after, but don't be too sure. Rowling is really good at turning smoking guns into red herrings....So, how long until book five?
Rowling has a way of making the wildest, most whimsically unlikely conventions and scenarios seem utterly plausible, of creating a world so convincing that you don't even stop to question the existence of flying broomsticks and invisibility cloaks.
J.K. Rowling has not lost her touch. The fourth in her series starring the courageous young wizard is just as absorbing as its celebrated predecessors.
Once again, Rowling packs the pages with witty and imaginative ideas....Fourth year report? Another fine year, Ms Rowling. Three more to go and it looks as though your OWLS (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) results will be terrific.
As the midpoint in a projected seven-book series, Goblet of Fire is exactly the big, clever, vibrant, tremendously assured installment that gives shape and direction to the whole undertaking and still somehow preserves the material's enchanting innocence. This time Ms. Rowling offers her clearest proof yet of what should have been wonderfully obvious: what makes the Potter books so popular is the radically simple fact that they're so good.
New York Times
Even without the unprecedented media attention and popularity her magical
series has attracted, it would seem too much to hope that Rowling could
sustain the brilliance and wit of her first three novels. Astonishingly,
Rowling seems to have the spell-casting powers she assigns her characters:
this fourth volume might be her most thrilling yet.
The novel opens as a confused Muggle overhears Lord Voldemort and his
henchman, Wormtail (the escapee from book three, Azkaban) discussing a murder and plotting more deaths (and invoking Harry Potter's name); clues
suggest that Voldemort and Wormtail's location will prove highly significant.
From here it takes a while (perhaps slightly too long a while) for Harry
and his friends to get back to the Hogwarts school, where Rowling is on
surest footing. Headmaster Dumbledore appalls everyone by declaring that
Quidditch competition has been canceled for the year, then he makes the
exciting announcement that the Triwizard Tournament is to be held after a
cessation of many hundred years (it was discontinued, he explains, because
the death toll mounted so high). One representative from each of the three
largest wizardry schools of Europe (sinister Durmstrang, luxurious
Beauxbatons and Hogwarts) are to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire; because
of the mortal dangers, Dumbledore casts a spell that allows only students
who are at least 17 to drop their names into the Goblet. Thus no one
foresees that the Goblet will announce a fourth candidate: Harry. Who has
put his name into the Goblet, and how is his participation in the
tournament linked, as it surely must be, to Voldemort's newest plot?
The details are as ingenious and original as ever, and somehow (for
catching readers off-guard must certainly get more difficult with each
successive volume) Rowling plants the red herrings, the artful clues and
tricky surprises that disarm the most attentive audience. A climax even
more spectacular than that of Azkaban will leave readers breathless; the
muscle-building heft of this volume notwithstanding, the clamor for book
five will begin as soon as readers finish installment four.
Potter enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Here are all the old friends, the funny creatures, the magic, the thrills and the laughs that are the ingredients of Rowling's fabulous success.
...keeps up the awesome inventiveness, deadpan humor and gripping pace of previous installments....As usual, Rowling flawlessly knits her plotlines together, with seemingly casual early details taking on meaningful force by the end.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ages 9-12 Even without the unprecedented media attention and popularity her magical series has attracted, it would seem too much to hope that Rowling could sustain the brilliance and wit of her first three novels. Astonishingly, Rowling seems to have the spell-casting powers she assigns her characters: this fourth volume might be her most thrilling yet. The novel opens as a confused Muggle overhears Lord Voldemort and his henchman, Wormtail (the escapee from book three, Azkaban) discussing a murder and plotting more deaths (and invoking Harry Potter's name); clues suggest that Voldemort and Wormtail's location will prove highly significant. From here it takes a while (perhaps slightly too long a while) for Harry and his friends to get back to the Hogwarts school, where Rowling is on surest footing. Headmaster Dumbledore appalls everyone by declaring that Quidditch competition has been canceled for the year, then he makes the exciting announcement that the Triwizard Tournament is to be held after a cessation of many hundred years (it was discontinued, he explains, because the death toll mounted so high). One representative from each of the three largest wizardry schools of Europe (sinister Durmstrang, luxurious Beauxbatons and Hogwarts) are to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire; because of the mortal dangers, Dumbledore casts a spell that allows only students who are at least 17 to drop their names into the Goblet. Thus no one foresees that the Goblet will announce a fourth candidate: Harry. Who has put his name into the Goblet, and how is his participation in the tournament linked, as it surely must be, to Voldemort's newest plot? The details are as ingenious and original as ever, and somehow (for catching readers off-guard must certainly get more difficult with each successive volume) Rowling plants the red herrings, the artful clues and tricky surprises that disarm the most attentive audience. A climax even more spectacular than that of Azkaban will leave readers breathless; the muscle-building heft of this volume notwithstanding, the clamor for book five will begin as soon as readers finish installment four. Copyright 2000, Cahners Business Information.|
There must be a committee that lives in Rowling's head. Could just one brain possibly come up with all this creativity and imagination? I wanted to see into her "Pensieve," to steal into her swirling thoughts, just as Potter stumbles into Dumbledore's in Goblet of Fire. This fourth installment continues fourteen-year-old Harry's journey to full wizardhood, opening immediately with the mysterious and foreboding appearance of Lord Voldemort, who again establishes the presence of the dark side. Harry spent another summer with the least imaginative and most disappointing of all Muggles, the Dursleys. His stay on Privet Drive ends sooner than expected when Mr. Weasley secures box seat tickets for the Quidditch World Cup and invites Harry to go. Uncle Vernon reluctantly agrees to the outing after Harry casually and slyly mentions his "godfather" Sirius Black. And the fun begins. Using a different structure for this adventure, Rowling allows events to lead to four climaxes instead of one. She sets up the story with a demonstration of her creative mastery in the Quidditch World Cup segment: the Weasley's arrival via Floo Powder in the Dursley's bricked-up fireplace, their unconventional trip in Muggle disguise to the World Cup campsite (I want one of those tents!), the magical and exciting Quidditch match, and the mysterious events that follow. Three more high points occur with each challenge in the Triwizard Tournament, held at Hogwarts during the school term. Single champions from Beauxbaton, Durmstrang, and Hogwarts schools are to compete, but Harry's name is sneaked in to the competition. Because one cannot contradict the Goblet of Fire (or disappoint readers), Harry stays. Between the heart-thumping events, some critics complain of slow reading. We are, after all, an audience of highly educated Muggles and harder to please. We have read the previous booksat least once, perhaps twiceand know all the passwords and the counterspells. But for me, reading a Potter book has become a sort of reunion. I use the down time between tense moments to visit with all the characters I've missed since the last gathering. There are some new faces, familiar faces, furry faces, translucent faces, suspicious faces, wise faces, and heroic faces. Some are just plain weird! Mad-Eye Moody, the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, has a long mane of grizzled hair, and a heavily scarred face with one normal eye and one magical eye that swivels in its socket and seems to see at all timeseven through the back of his head. Mad-Eye introduces students to the "Unforgiveable Curses" that would earn a wizard a life sentence in Azkaban if used. Fun characters, new spells, incredible events, and delightful gimmicks add to the puzzle that Rowling challenges us to complete. The multilayered framework is unquestionably well constructed. Answers to unresolved questions from earlier installments are revealedwe finally learn why Harry must summer with the Dursleysand enough hints about what comes next will leave readers anxiously awaiting the fifth book. After finishing this adventure, I needed to share my excitement and was lucky enough to find a fourth grader on his eighth reading just two weeks after the book's release. Two days later I bumped into my retired teaching mentor whose book group finished it. Our animated dialogue drew crowds. Rowling again has created magicbetween the covers of this book and between readers of all ages who need to talk about Harry.Reviewer: C. J. Bott October 2000
This fourth volume of Harry's adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is up to the high standards of its predecessors, full of fantasy, suspense, humor and horror. All the familiar characters are backHarry's faithful friends Ron and Hermione (she takes on the cause of enslaved house-elves here), professors both kind and nasty, and Moaning Myrtle the ghost, among othersand there are some new characters, too, like the half-giantess Madame Maxime, a little house-elf named Winky, and "Mad-Eye" Moody, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. And defense is needed; because Harry's great enemy Lord Voldemort has risen again, with a new plot to kill Harry. There is a Quidditch World Cup, to supply some sports action, and even more important for Harry, a dangerous Triwizard Tournament in which he is a competitor. At 14, Harry and his friends are starting to mature, and boy-girl relationships are beginning to play a role in their lives, making this book of even greater interest to the YA audience. For all libraries. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2000
Harry and his friends Ron and Hermione return for their fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This year promises to be special, for the school plans to resurrect the tradition of the Triwizards Tournament, pitting the best Hogwarts student against foes from two other schools, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. It is no surprise to Harry Potter fans that Harry gets tangled up in the competition. This year at school is different also because the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, Mad-Eye Moody, actually seems to know his subject. Will he last, or will he meet an ignominious end as have all his predecessors? As with the first three books in the series, there is much skulking through the halls at night, bending rules somewhat and general schoolboy mischief. There is also chivalry, team spirit, hero worship and puppy love. What is new to this entry in the series is its sheer weight--Rowling's mastery of storytelling is evident since her fans think nothing of lugging this 734-page tome about on family vacations. The story also turns much more macabre as Harry's archenemy, Lord Voldemort, regains some of his former power. The imagery is vivid and somewhat disturbing and could easily lead to a few nights' restless sleep. Another riveting read by Rowling. Reviewer: Dr. Judy Rowen
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-Harry Potter is back in J.K. Rowling's fourth installment of his adventures (Scholastic, 2000). He is 14 years old and in his fourth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where the traditional Inter-House Quidditch Cup has been temporarily suspended so that the Triwizard Tournament can be held. Only three students, one from each of the biggest schools of wizardry, may compete, but the Goblet of Fire that chooses the champions from each school mysteriously produces a fourth name--Harry Potter. As the school readies for the tournament, it becomes obvious to Harry's allies that Voldemort is plotting something dastardly--but only at the very end does he show his hand, springing a trap that Harry only narrowly escapes. Jim Dale, who has narrated the previous Harry Potter audiobooks, succeeds marvelously at the Herculean effort of voicing about 125 characters. By now, Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Hagrid are so well known to him that his renditions of their voices are practiced and flawless. He also invests new characters such as Mad-Eye Moody and Winky with voices that enhance their already vivid personalities. Dale intones magical commands with such great authority that one would almost think he was a wizard himself. Twenty hours is a long time to listen to a book, but the combination of Rowling's enthralling adventure and Dale's limber narration will easily see kids through to the very last sentence.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Robert Allen Papinchak
The legend continues. Rowling's audacious series about the world's most beloved boy wizard moves into classic mode when fourteen-year-old Harry encounters his most daring challenges so far, confronting You-Know-Who and overcoming a daunting series of tasks in the process. Rowling's wisely inventive twist on the previous books is to eschew the ponderous exposition that halted the openings of books Two and Three, The Chamber of Secrets and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Instead, she provides a powerhouse opening chapter that lays the groundwork for the spellbinding twists and turns that follow. Harry knows disaster surrounds him even as he sets off with his favorite family, the Weasleys, for the four hundred twenty-second Quidditch World Cup Final Match against Ireland and Bulgaria, a speedy but heart-stopping event. Later, at Hogwarts, the students discover that the annual interschool quidditch matches are displaced by an even greater competition, the Triwizard Tournament. When Harry's name is drawn from the goblet of fire--despite the fact that he is underage--he endures Herculean tasks that test magical prowess, daring, powers of deduction and the ability to cope with danger. All of this moves inexorably toward a definitive, horrifying face-off with Lord Voldemort. Rowling balances the darkness of the novel with some delightfully raucous highlights. Every reader will have his favorite book in the series. Some might find Rowling overloading the goodies in this one, but, in this case, more is better. What a shame to have to wait another year to find out what happens next.
...anything but boring.
As the bells and whistles of the greatest prepublication hoopla in children's book history fade, what's left in the clearing smoke isunsurprisingly, considering Rowling's track recordanother grand tale of magic and mystery, of wheels within wheels oiled in equal measure by terror and comedy, featuring an engaging young hero-in-training who's not above the occasional snit, and clicking along so smoothly that it seems shorter than it is. Good thing, too, with this page count. That's not to say that the pace doesn't lag occasionallyparticularly near the end when not one but two bad guys halt the action for extended accounts of their misdeeds and motivesor that the story lacks troubling aspects. As Harry wends his way through a fourth year of pranks, schemes, intrigue, danger and triumph at Hogwarts, the racial and class prejudice of many wizards moves to the forefront, with hooded wizards gathering to terrorize an isolated Muggle family in one scene while authorities do little more than wring their hands. There's also the later introduction of Hogwarts' house elves as a clan of happy slaves speaking nonstandard English. These issues may be resolved in sequels, but in the meantime, they are likely to leave many readers, particularly American ones, uncomfortable. Still, opening with a thrilling quidditch match, and closing with another wizardly competition that is also exciting, for very different reasons, this sits at the center of Rowling's projected seven volume saga and makes a sturdy, heartstopping (doorstopping) fulcrum for it. (Fiction. All ages)
Read an Excerpt
1. The Riddle HouseThe villagers of Little Hangleton still called it "the Riddle House," even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there. It stood on a hill overlooking the village, some of its windows boarded, tiles missing from its roof, and ivy spreading unchecked over its face. Once a fine-looking manor, and easily the largest and grandest building for miles around, the Riddle House was now damp, derelict, and unoccupied.
The Little Hangletons all agreed that the old house was "creepy." Half a century ago, something strange and horrible had happened there, something that the older inhabitants of the village still liked to discuss when topics for gossip were scarce. The story had been picked over so many times, and had been embroidered in so many places, that nobody was quite sure what the truth was anymore. Every version of the tale, however, started in the same place: Fifty years before, at daybreak on a fine summer's morning, when theRiddle House had still been well kept and impressive, a maid had entered the drawing room to find all three Riddles dead.
The maid had run screaming down the hill into the village and roused as many people as she could.
"Lying there with their eyes wide open! Cold as ice! Still in their dinner things!"
The police were summoned, and the whole of Little Hangleton had seethed with shocked curiosity and ill-disguised excitement. Nobody wasted their breath pretending to feel very sad about the Riddles, for they had been most unpopular. Elderly Mr. and Mrs. Riddle had been rich, snobbish, and rude, and their grown-up son, Tom, had been, if anything, worse. All the villagers cared about was the identity oftheir murderer for plainly, three apparently healthy people did not all drop dead of natural causes on the same night.
The Hanged Man, the village pub, did a roaring trade that night; the whole village seemed to have turned out to discuss the murders. They were rewarded for leaving their firesides when the Riddles' cook arrived dramatically in their midst and announced to the suddenly silent pub that a man called Frank Bryce had just been arrested.
"Frank!" cried several people. "Never!"
Frank Bryce was the Riddles' gardener. He lived alone in a rundown cottage on the grounds of the Riddle House. Frank had come back from the war with a very stiff leg and a great dislike of crowds and loud noises, and had been working for the Riddles ever since.
There was a rush to buy the cook drinks and hear more details.
"Always thought he was odd," she told the eagerly listening villagers, after her fourth sherry. "Unfriendly, like. I'm sure if I've offered him a cuppa once, I've offered it a hundred times. Never wanted to mix, he didn't."
"Ah, now," said a woman at the bar, "he had a hard war, Frank. He likes the quiet life. That's no reason to -"
"Who else had a key to the back door, then?" barked the cook. "There's been a spare key hanging in the gardener's cottage far back as I can remember! Nobody forced the door last night! No broken windows! All Frank had to do was creep up to the big house while we was all sleeping . . . ."
The villagers exchanged dark looks.
"I always thought he had a nasty look about him, right enough," grunted a man at the bar.
"War turned him funny, if you ask me," said the landlord.
"Told you I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of Frank, didn't I, Dot?" said an excited woman in the corner.
"Horrible temper," said Dot, nodding fervently. "I remember, when he was a kid. . ."
By the following morning, hardly anyone in Little Hangleton doubted that Frank Bryce had killed the Riddles.
But over in the neighboring town of Great Hangleton, in the dark and dingy police station, Frank was stubbornly repeating, again and again, that he was innocent, and that the only person he had seen near the house on the day of the Riddles' deaths had been a teenage boy, a stranger, dark-haired and pale. Nobody else in the village had seen any such boy, and the police were quite sure that Frank had invented him.
Then, just when things were looking very serious for Frank, the report on the Riddles' bodies came back and changed everything.
The police had never read an odder report. A team of doctors had examined the bodies and had concluded that none of the Riddles had been poisoned, stabbed, shot, strangled, suffocated, or (as far as they could tell) harmed at all. In fact (the report continued, in a tone of unmistakable bewilderment), the Riddles all appeared to be in perfect health - apart from the fact that they were all dead. The doctors did note (as though determined to find something wrong with the bodies) that each of the Riddles had a look of terror upon his or her face - but as the frustrated police said, whoever heard of three people being frightened to death?
As there was no proof that the Riddles had been murdered at all, the police were forced to let Frank go. The Riddles were buried in the Little Hangleton churchyard, and their graves remained objects of curiosity for a while. To everyone's surprise, and amid a cloud of suspicion, Frank Bryce returned to his cottage on the grounds of the Riddle House.
"'S far as I'm concerned, he killed them, and I don't care what the police say," said Dot in the Hanged Man. "And if he had any decency, he'd leave here, knowing as how we knows he did it."
But Frank did not leave. He stayed to tend the garden for the next family who lived in the Riddle House, and then the next for neither family stayed long. Perhaps it was partly because of Frank that the new owners said there was a nasty feeling about the place, which, in the absence of inhabitants, started to fall into disrepair...