Nevermind. I did finish Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire last night. I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. to pull it off (more proof of what happens when Abby’s not around). In my defense I’d reached the final climactic chapters, and once you get that far there’s no turning back.
Interestingly enough, this morning I read the announcement about the title for not-yet-written sixth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. No release date has been set yet, so I can imagine we’ll have to wait at least a year.
As I finished The Goblet of Fire last night my head was spinning with thoughts and ideas about the world of Harry Potter. The Goblet of Fire is very much the Empire Strikes Back of the series. The bad guy comes back for real, the good guys are thrown into disarray, everything’s up in the air. Certainly there are no ‘Harry, I am your father!’ revelations, but it’s a pretty dark ending that left fans dying for book five.
Personally, I like The Goblet of Fire and The Prisoner of Azkaban the best. The first two books seemed like lame attempts for the bad guy to come back. It works in book one, but it felt like a repeat in the second book. I like The Prisoner of Azkaban so much because the plot has such a twist and for once in the series it’s not this elaborate plot of Voldemort regaining power (though it certainly has elements of ‘Harry, I am your father’). It’s gutsy for a series to do a book without its main villain, and even cooler that the book came out so well.
I like The Goblet of Fire because it raises the stakes. It’s another wild plot full of twists and turns, and this time it’s not some half-baked plot of the bad guy coming back to psuedo-power. It’s the real deal.
Part of what I like about the Harry Potter books is that Rowling packs so much into them. Yeah, each book is even more ridiculously longer than the last one, but she’s not wasting time with unimportant ventures. Almost every detail comes up again later. Any spell, creature, potion or magical object mentioned in the early chapters is bound to come up again.
I also love some of the deeper themes in the books. There’s some of the obvious stuff about good vs. evil, love, sacrifice, friendship, etc., but I like some of the more complicated stuff as well. The Goblet of Fire hints at some of the methods for fighting evil. One such method was to fight evil with evil, to authorize the good guys to use deadly force against the bad guys, to do just about anything to ensure safety, though not necessarily justice. Contrast that with headmaster Dumbledore’s belief in the second chance. While the book was written before 9/11, it has interesting parallels to how we fight the war on terror.
And I also love that Harry’s just a teenager who likes a girl but can hardly talk to her, gets nervous tests and trials, and likes to avoid homework.