Growing up, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was easily my favorite book of the series (until the release of the seventh), and for a while, quite possibly my favorite book of all time. I must have read and reread the thing at least ten times so far, not including this read-through, so it most definitely has a very, very special place in my heart.
But, honestly, I couldn’t begin to tell you why I liked it so much then, and continue to prefer it over most of the others to this day. What was it about this book in particular that struck such a chord with my young imagination? Hell if I know. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that my best friend at the time gave me a copy of it for Christmas the year it came out (2000; we were in sixth grade and completely obsessed to the point where we had Harry Potter code names for all our friends and our classes), or perhaps it’s something altogether different. But most of my memories of middle school involve me sitting off in some corner reading Goblet of Fire if I wasn’t supposed to be reading something else for school.
It’s interesting picking it up now, especially since I haven’t touched it in several years, but considering I easily managed to polish off over 300 pages in one sitting last night, it’s clear to me that my attachment to this book hasn’t really waned over time. Reading this book right now is akin to sitting down to lunch with an old friend you haven’t seen in years, and picking up right where you left off. I’m a little amazed at how comforting it is; in contrast to the first three, which felt like I was rediscovering them, sometimes even reading them through for the first time, Goblet of Fire truly feels like coming home. Which is so cheesy, I know, but I just moved across the country and have been feeling a little homesick, so this has honestly been a great help.
CHAPTER 20: THE FIRST TASK
First of all, poor Harry. Poor kid.
Throughout this read-through I’ve been trying really hard to remember just how old these guys are, regardless of how much older they tend to act in certain situations. And Harry and his friends are fourteen. Fourteen! Holy shit! Thinking back to when I was fourteen, probably the most difficult thing I had to deal with was an emotionally abusive homelife, and my crush being horribly confusing so I wasn’t ever sure if he liked me because we were too busy being snarky at each other before class. You know, standard fourteen year old stuff. (Though now that I think about it, he was probably kinda into me. Whatever.)
Harry’s got a lot of that, sure, only he’s got to get past a fucking dragon as well, and half of his support system’s completely ditched him.
I love the way Rowling writes teenagers. Harry’s growing up, he’s dealing with a lot, he’s got hormones and emotions and drama and school and a madman trying to murder him besides. And a lot of that comes out in the way Rowling writes him, in the way he thinks, how he reacts to things. Kid’s got a temper on him, he’s a little bit spiteful, he’s confused, he’s stubborn. He’s noticing girls more. It’s glorious, really, because all of these little things really speak to the fact that, yeah, he’s really only fourteen and just starting to figure stuff out. He really feels less like a character out of a book and more like my little brother, which isn’t really much of a help to my homesickness issue, but I digress.