The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 28-29: I Think I Just Invented Goblin Porn

It’s a little weird writing about Goblet of Fire. On the one hand, it’s my least favorite of the books. On the other hand, I don’t have as visceral a reaction to it as I have to Order of the Phoenix. Sure, there are little bits here and there that I could (and do) talk about—the way Harry and Ron’s fight about fame could have ended before it began if they’d both just take a second and talk about the things they each saw in the Mirror of Erised or those first, shaky steps towards Hermione and Ron admitting their feelings for each other—but, other than that, I usually find myself just sort of skipping over this book. (Metaphorically, of course. I would never skip over it during a reread. I mean, what would be the point of that?)

I guess I have a level of apathy towards this book. This is the midpoint of the series. The calm before the storm. This is the last time, really, when these kids will have anything even remotely resembling a normal childhood (or as normal as a childhood can be in the Wizarding World). And that’s probably why I’m so cool towards it. I want to get to the next step—I need to get to the next step—and this silly tournament is in my way.

Luckily, these two chapters have little or nothing to do with the Triwizard Tournament.

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT: THE MADNESS OF MR. CROUCH

Let’s take a break from all of the dragons and gillyweed (and confused teenage hormones) and get back to what’s really important: drunk house-elves. Harry and the Potters pay a visit to Dobby down in Hogwarts’ kitchen. While they’re there, they learn that Winky has sorta let herself go. She’s been hitting the butterbeer pretty hard since she was sacked by Crouch. I’ll get back to Crouch in a minute.

House-elves are…problematic. I mean, there are clear parallels to slavery in the whole house-elf system, especially when you look at the way Lucius Malfoy treated Dobby and the way Mr. Crouch treated Winky. But then you have Hogwarts, a castle full of house-elves, and you have to ask yourself whether or not their presence there is Dumbledore’s silent acceptance of house-elf slavery. Or, do we let Dumbledore off the hook because the house-elves at Hogwarts aren’t mistreated and are simply left alone to do what their kind are meant to do? (We know, of course, that Dumbledore wouldn’t do such a thing, which is what sets him apart from those clowns in the Ministry, as we’ll see in a bit.) See? Problematic. Of course, all of the house-elf stuff in Goblet of Fire is just a way to give Hermione something to do in this book other than being the lady part of a love trapezoid. (Am I the only one who almost types “Goblin” instead of “Goblet”? Goblin of Fire would be a totally different book. Actually, Goblin of Fire sounds like the kind of naughty magazines you’d likely find in the employee restroom at Gringotts.)

I know there are people who are angry that S.P.E.W. never made it into the movie. I’d be lying if I said I were one of them. Honestly, I never missed it. But, I adore the zeal with which Hermione approaches the issue of house-elf rights. It is the same tenacity she exhibits when tackling a particularly tough homework assignment or when helping Harry take down dark wizard. That’s who she is. That’s our girl.

And speaking of tenacity, Hermione’s personal vendetta against Rita Skeeter might be my favorite part of the boring middle section of this book. Harry has had three whole books to get used to his unwanted fame. But poor Hermione suddenly finds herself the target of journalism that, were it any yellower, could be used in a battle against Hal Jordan. She starts getting hate mail, including one that’s laced with undiluted bubotuber pus (ick!). Even Mrs. Weasley believes the stuff that Skeeter writes about Hermione, sending Hermione a smaller egg at Easter than she sent Harry and Ron. I think it’s important to note, however, that Mrs. Weasley still sends her an egg, even if it’s smaller. That woman has class.

Let’s see…what else happened…

  • The champions are told that the third test will involve a magical maze.

  • Harry once again explains that all of his successes in the previous books were the result of teamwork.

  • Krum takes Harry aside and interrogates him about his relationship with Hermione. Dammit, Krum! Back! Off! She is not for you!

  • Also: was Krum trying to ask Harry if he and Hermione had “gone all the way”?

  • Crouch, Sr. is wandering the grounds of Hogwarts being all crazy and shit. Despite his inane dribblings, Crouch seems quite lucid whenever his verbal perambulations circle back to the subject of Voldemort.

  • This is the first time we see a Patronus being used as a form of communication.

  • Dumbledore’s Patronus is described as being a “ghostly bird”, the first indication of Dumbledore’s Patronus being a phoenix.

  • Karkaroff spits at Dumbledore’s feet and Hagrid nearly throttles the guy single-handedly. Do not mess with family, Karkaroff. Bad things can happen. Just ask Tara…

           

 CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE: THE DREAM

Dreams. I don’t usually remember my dreams. I’m in the middle of reading The House of Hades, and between Harry’s scar dreams and the constant, horrifically prophetic dreams that demigods have, I think I might be okay with that.

Why exactly are Harry and Ron still taking Divination, other than to keep Professor Trelawney in the picture? I find the treatment of the subject matter interesting. Based on what McGonagall and Hermione have said about divination in the past, plus the rather ludicrous shenanigans that go on in Trelawney’s tower, you get the feeling that Rowling certainly doesn’t put much stock in the idea of seeing the future, even within the context of a world where motorcycles can fly and professors can turn into cats. But, the entire plot of the series is driven by a prophecy or, at the very least, belief in that prophecy. And, maybe that’s the point. Voldemort is obsessed with The Prophecy. Pretty much every move he has made since 1980 has been an attempt to subvert it. Most other wizards and witches seem to believe The Prophecy, too, at least as far as it applies to Harry Potter being a Chosen One. But, Harry doesn’t believe. Harry doesn’t go through all of this because a prophecy said he was supposed to. No, he does it because it’s the right thing to do.

I love how people still think they can tell Harry not to get involved in the weird shit that goes down at Hogwarts and he’ll actually listen.

Ugh. Fudge, you guys. I hate Fudge—the fumfering bureaucratic arse, not the delicious chocolate confection. I know I talked about how Dumbledore’s idea of community stands in stark contrast to Voldemort’s. How he believes that a proper society needs to be built on equality and mutual cooperation, rather than ironfisted jackbootery. That’s pretty obvious. But, then there’s the Ministry. Is the Ministry any different from Voldemort? Is oppression through laws and paperwork somehow better than oppression through fear and the wand? Fudge (and many others in the Ministry) are clearly just as bigoted as any of the Death Eaters.

Some random bits…

  • Fred and George’s joke shop.

  • A lot of what Crouch, Jr. does as Moody is just to sort of shepherd Harry through the challenges. But, then he goes and does things like telling Hermione she’d make an excellent Auror. Does he really think that? Is he just messing with her? Does he do it because he thinks it’s something that the real Moody would do?

  • Sirius insisting that Krum is a bad egg strikes me as somewhat hypocritical. At least it does this time around.

  • It looks like Harry’s insufferable ability to lurk in staircases and at keyholes has finally met its match in Moody’s magical eye.
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8 thoughts on “The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 28-29: I Think I Just Invented Goblin Porn

  1. Kevin O'Shea says:

    I like how not even being disfigured by Wizarding Anthrax stops Hermione’s enthusiasm, but the just smallest hint that Molly Weasley is disappointed in her is enough to upset her.

    Ron’s always seen Divination as an Easy O class, and Harry probably doesn’t care enough to drop it because at least he gets to hang out with Ron, and what’s the alternative? Arithmancy or Ancient Runes?

    • Dan says:

      I guess you’re right about Divination. Who am I to judge? I took AP English because the girl I had a crush on signed up for it. (I’d like to think I’ve learned the error of my ways in the last 20 [!!] years…but that’s probably not the case.)

    • Ashley says:

      If they took those other classes, they’d actually have to do some work. And who wants that?

  2. Gretchen Alice says:

    I don’t remember my dreams, either, so it always bothers me when dreams get used as a literary device. (Not because I think it’s an invalid form of storytelling. I just get jealous, that’s all.)

    • Dan says:

      Totally. Why do fictional characters get to remember their dreams and I don’t?

      • Valerie Anne says:

        I’m really sad for you guys that you don’t remember your dreams. Mine are so vivid sometimes I forget that they’re not memories. (Which is sometimes jarring when I remember the more horrifying of them.)

        • Dan says:

          I dunno… I’m neurotic and paranoid enough without giving my subconscious free rein to terrify me. And, if it makes you feel any better, I daydream constantly and tend to confuse those with reality.

    • Ashley says:

      I remember my dreams all the time, and I don’t like it. You should be thankful. The brain is a scary, scary place.

      (Harry’s dreams, Voldemort and all, are much more sane than mine.)

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