Brad's Reviews > Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
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's review
Mar 25, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, fantasy, to-my-kids, out-loud, adventure
Read from December 15, 2010 to November 08, 2011

Goblet of Fire's sprawling messiness is fascinating to me. It seems to mark the moment when J.K. Rowling gained full power over her creation. She wasn't a struggling, driven, single mom anymore -- she was J.K. ROWLING! She was a literary superstar, and suddenly she could do anything she wanted without hindrance.

The result is a giant mess. She's got a Quidditch World Cup happening; she's got the crazy Triwizard Tournament, and all its machinations; she's got Harry's hormones starting to rage; she's got a jumble of adult politics and the old and new wars against Voldemort competing with Harry for time; she's got the endless Rita Skeeter vs. Hermione subplot; then she's got the Hermione - Dobby - Winky - SPEW debate; she's got the first appearance of the Pensieve, and its onslaught of explication; she's got not-Mad Eye Moody to introduce, the first serious appearance of Voldemort, another ghostly visitation, Padfoot hanging around in caves, Fred & George scheming their brains out, and Dumbledore being his usual forthcoming self; she's got Tournament challenges and school to deliver; she's got humiliating dances for us to attend; she's got the death of Cedric Diggory; and she's got all her usual suspects -- Snape, McGonagall, Neville, Hagrid, the Malfoys, etc., etc.. It's a lot of ground to cover. I think it is too much, and I am sure that if she hadn't been an institution, she'd have been forced to cut and trim.

But I am damn glad she wasn't forced to cut and trim. Sure Goblet of Fire could have been tighter. Sure it could have been a slicker story, more compelling, faster in the telling. But fuck all that. Life is messy. Shit is always going on around you. Just look around tomorrow and you'll see it happening. And all of those diversions, all of that messiness, is a reflection of the way life is.

More importantly, though, I just love the fact that an author -- ANY AUTHOR -- reached that stage with her writing, reached the point where it was so beloved she could tell the story her way without any interference. Most authors only get to do that if they stay in the ghettoes of self-publishing, but Rowling moved into the gated suburbs and painted her house all the colours of the rainbow, and she was so fucking rich and powerful that the community council just let her do her thing. That is authorial victory, and that makes Goblet of Fire a personal fave.

Besides, it's kinda fun despite its flaws. And it is the first time I really fell for Hermione. She's one of the great supporting characters in all of literature. Seriously. She's up there with Dr. Watson (but better).
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03/01/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Stephen Well said, Brad.

Brad Thanks, Stephen.

message 3: by mark (new)

mark monday good review Brad! i am also very happy that she decided not to cut & trim. this was the first Harry Potter book that i thought to myself I'm definitely going to reread this one. there's a lot to enjoy in there.

Brad I totally agree. I wouldn't give up SPEW for anything, and I am betting that's the first thing that a "good editor" would have cut.

message 5: by Gio (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gio And this book spurned one of my fave sayings...CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!!!!!

Brad Nice.

Sorel Totally agree, well said. Love your review. :)
However, I think you should indicate your review has spoilers. Would be totally bummed if I read that before reading the book...

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