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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire    by J. K. Rowling order for
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by J. K. Rowling
Order:  USA  Can
Scholastic, 2002 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

My son and I anxiously awaited Goblet of Fire, and fought over who would read it first (he won). Delivery was handled by a Muggles mailman rather than by Owl Post, but it seemed eminently suitable that fireflies danced around us as we read together in the twilit garden.Goblet of Fire is a weightier tome than the previous books, both in size and content. At over 600 pages, it is double the size of previous volumes, which delighted my son as he was able to spend longer in Harry's universe this time around.

Harry and his friends are growing older, developing an interest (albeit mild) in the opposite sex, and viewing the world around them more critically. Hermione starts a misguided crusade on behalf of the elves. Ron succumbs to jealousy of Harry and is confused about his feelings for Hermione. Several of the adults are seen to have feet of clay, from the motherly Mrs. Weasley's gullibility about what's in the Daily Prophet, to a major betrayal by a trusted Professor.

The magical world is just as prone to prejudice and discrimination (against elves, giants, werewolves and Mudbloods) as the mundane one. Those who seem to be on the side of right, can be intolerant and use evil means, such as the Dementors. And even heroes can die. Harry's world is growing up.

Harry, a reluctant entrant, and three other champions, compete in the dangerous tasks of the Triwizard Tournament. Evil is fleshed out in more detail, with demonstrations of the three (that magic number again) unforgivable curses, and with the resurrection of the Dark Lord. A great deal of groundwork is laid - the spells, the Death Eaters, the role of the Giants, Harry's encounter with Voldemort - for the next book in the series. It should be a whopper.

The main storyline in Goblet of Fire is a hero's quest, but it's also about growing up, recognizing the world's imperfections and dealing with its harsher realities. The author lightens this potion with her usual ingredients: Fred and George's humor, the imaginative touches (I could really use a Pensieve) and the satire. The Veela vamps were fun this time, but Rita Skeeter and her Quick-Quotes Quill are hilarious.

Goblet of Fire is Rowling's best yet. If you haven't read Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban, you have quadruple the pleasure in store. And look forward to seeing more of your favorite characters next year. Personally I'm anxious to see how Hagrid's romance develops, hope to see more of Professor Lupus, and am looking forward to the Malfoys getting their comeuppance!

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