This is the first Harry Potter book that is a new read for me, although I’ve seen the movie a dozen time, and it’s a much better story. I’m actually retroactively very angry about the movie adaptation! Luckily, there are now several other people embarking on the Harry Potter journey with me so I can, hopefully, commiserate with them since I’m twelve years late to the party.
It is going to be very difficult for me to separate the book from the movie so I apologize in advance if you’re not here for that.
The book opens in the town where Tom Riddle is from; the Riddle family was murdered and the care taker was blamed but exonerated. It is the present day and the elderly care taker still lives on the property, he is awoken one evening by Voldemort and Wormtail (David Tenet is nowhere to be found). They’re discussing a woman, Bertha Jorkins, who gave up some information and then was killed as well as a plan to murder Harry Potter. On Privet Drive Harry Potter is awoken from a nightmare with his scar burning.
Harry is invited to the Quidditch World Cup by the Weasleys; of course the Dursleys (because they’re in the novel) aren’t enthusiastic about a bunch of wizards coming into their house to pick up Harry but they are happy to get rid of him sooner than usual. There is a funny scene that introduces the Weasley twins foray into building a joke shop empire involving Dudley. The World Cup is a much bigger deal in the book, hell they probably could have filmed the World Cup as its own movie, and introduces a lot of characters that are removed or reduced to minor roles in the film adaption; Barty Crouch and Ludo Bagman, members of the Ministry of Magic and Winky, the house elf for Crouch. After the match a group of Death Eaters capture the family of Muggles that live on the property, they begin to bounce them around in the air causing panic; our main trio end up in the forest. Someone shoots the Dark Mark into the air and more panic, including the Death Eaters, ensues. A few ministry members come to investigate and discover Winky with Harry’s wand, blaming her for the mark. It’s a whole mess but it’s important later on (except, not in the movie).
Once the school year begins we are introduced to the Triwizard Championship, a competition between three schools that was discontinued decades ago for being to dangerous but has been brought back as a means to promote international camaraderie. Much better explained than “this year we are doing this!” and I’m a bit sick of quidditch. Harry’s name is spat out of the Goblet of Fire despite being underage and uninterested in competing. A feud begins between Harry and Ron, much better explained than in the movie, because Ron is jealous of all the attention Harry receives. Likewise, the relationship between Krum and Hermione makes a lot more sense or at least comes about organically.
The first challenge has Harry outwitting a dragon followed by a reconciliation with Ron and a mysterious clue for the second task. Ludo Bagman is one of the Ministry officials running the Triwizard Championship and judging the champions; he openly roots for Harry, at times offering to help him, and it is later discovered he was accused but acquitted of being Death Eater. Then we have the Yule Ball, where Hermione has her Cinderella moment, which comes and goes with the biggest revelation being that Hagrid is part giant (which is a bad thing). Yeah, let’s spend 20 minutes on that in the movie but never visit Sirius in Hogsmeade.
“But Ron was staring at Hermione as though suddenly seeing her in a whole new light.
“Hermione, Neville’s right — you are a girl. . . .”
“Oh well spotted,” she said acidly.”
Harry doesn’t immediately take Cedric’s advice to take the egg to the the prefect’s bathroom but eventually comes around to it and figures out to win the second task he’ll have to survive underwater for an hour. Oh and guess what guys- Dobby works at Hogwarts now! He’s the one who comes up with Gillyweed, not Neville.
So Harry would have won the second challenge but he takes the Mermaid poem seriously and won’t come above water until he knows everyone is safe. Like the movie his actions earn him second place and ties him with Cedric for an advantage in the final task. They get several months off in-between tasks by the way which is when all the everything not in the movie takes place.
Sirius tells the trio that Karkaroff is a former death eater which is why Mad-Eye Moody has most likely been invited to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts for a single year. Rita Skeeter, a reporter for the Daily Prophet, harasses Harry, Hagrid and Hermione throughout the year (she’s also an illegal animagus!) The Marauder’s Map has a few pivotal scenes, eventually ending up in Moody’s hands. Crouch, the other Ministry Official running the tournament, goes missing leaving Percy Weasley (he’s in the novel working for Crouch and being insufferable) in his place. Crouch then shows up at Hogwarts in a frenzied state asking for Dumbledore and then disappearing.
Harry sees more than one scene in Dumbledore’s Penseive: Karkaroff’s trial as well as the separate trial of Barty Crouch Jr for the crime of torturing Neville’s parents. Poor Neville.
Then there is the third task; Fleur and Krum are taken out of the competition is slightly different ways then the film but the spirit of the book is there. Eventually Cedric and Harry end up at the Goblet of Fire which is a portkey sending them to the graveyard where Voldemort is waiting. Cedric dies. Wormtail and baby Voldemort use Harry, the bones of Mr Riddle and Wormtail’s hand for a spell/potion. After the spell revives Voldemort to his body he attempts to kill Harry but fails. With the help of Cedric, the groundskeeper, Bertha Jorkins and his parents Harry is able to get Cedric’s body and himself back to Hogwarts where he unloads what happened to Dumbledore.
“At that moment, Harry fully understood for the first time why people said Dumbledore was the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. The look upon Dumbledore’s face as he stared down at the unconscious form of Mad-Eye moody was more terrible than Harry could have ever imagined. There was no benign smile upon Dumbledore’s face, no twinkle in the eyes behind the spectacles. There was cold fury in every line of the ancient face; a sense of power radiated from Dumbledore as though he were giving off burning heat.”
Mad-Eye takes Harry back to the castle and begins acting strangely, his reveals himself to be the Death Eater Voldemort had on the inside at Hogwarts. Dumbledore, Snape and McGonagall rescue Harry and it is discovered that Moody was actually poly-juiced Barty Crouch Jr; under the compulsion of a truth serum he explains how he didn’t really die in Azkaban and what he’s been up to the last ten years. He confesses to creating the Dark Mark at the World Cup, how Voldemort came and freed him from his father’s control so he could replace Moody at Hogwarts. His father, Crouch Sr., was being controlled by Voldemort and Wormtail throughout the year until he escaped to Hogwarts where Barty Jr, as Mad-Eye, killed him.
“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.”
Other than all the crap with S.P.E.W. the movie really could have benefited from many of the plot points it eliminated. Everything makes so much more sense! Also- how the hell do you not force Gary Oldman to reprise his role as Sirius Black as more than just a head in the fireplace when his character has several pivotal scenes throughout the school year??? Whoever wrote his contract should be fired. I am so angry about the film adaptation now.
4.75 Stars. I’m listening to Jim Doyle’s version of the audiobook and he cannot do a female French accent to save his life.
Was this even a review? I think this was just a regurgitation of the plot but I’ve been angrily typing for an hour so I’m going to wrap it up…