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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Full Review
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"Look, I don't care what you say, Dumbledore trusts Snape." - Hermione

"There's still the fact that Dumbledore trusts Snape - and I know Dumbledore trusts where a lot of other people wouldn't - but I just can't see him letting Snape teach at Hogwarts if he'd ever worked for Voldemort." - Padfoot

"'Course Dumbledore trusts you," growled Moody. "He's a trusting man, isn't he? Believes in second chances, but me, I say there are spots that don't come off, Snape."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Full Review

by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is an entertaining novel which starts not with some scene involving Harry and the Dursleys but with an insight into the mysterious goings on associated with the Riddle House - the familial house of Tom Riddle.

This is a welcome break from the usual point-of-view - that of Harry Potter himself - not seen since the start of the very first novel when Harry Potter is only a year old and events are seen through the eyes of the Dursleys and Professor McGonagall.

Even as the infant Harry Potter is at the centre of events at the start of the first novel, so the teenage Potter is here also the subject of the scheming at the Riddle House. Only here, it is not his rescue being planned, but his murder. Lord Voldemort intends to finish what he began.

Not only does this gripping start immediately introduce a sense of peril, it also illustrates that odd connection - symbolized by Potter's cursed scar - that exists between Lord Voldemort and Harry Potter: it is no surprise that when Harry Potter wakes from his dream sleep, his scar hurting, it is with the events at Riddle House on his mind, because he has just been dreaming about them...

By Rowling's usual standard, the opening scenes of Goblet of Fire are actually a bit clumsily written with some ambiguity regarding point-of-view. The rest of the novel achieves a high standard.

Of the many magical devices that Rowling uses in her story, two seem to stand out as being unusually helpful in both narration and plotting - that scar, that connection between Potter and Voldemort is one. It allows the reader an opportunity to read the story from Potter's point-of-view, but at the same time, possibly to glimpse into the mind of his arch-enemy.

The second is the pensieve - a magical device that allows Rowling to do away with the need for flashbacks.

The pensieve is easily capable - like flashbacks - of being overused in a story (and later on in the series it is rather used too often), but in Goblet of Fire the pensieve - a sort of living memory - when first introduced is used to powerful dramatic effect.

But the essence of Goblet of Fire is not to be found in the clever use of magical devices, it is a simple question. Or rather two questions. Is Harry's life in imminent danger? And if that is the case can Dumbledore be trusted to safely guard him?

If an author wants to raise doubts about a leading character, she can choose no finer technique than to have a trusted friend raise those doubts. With Dumbledore, the trusted friend is Mad-Eye Moody and the doubt is voiced in the simple line, "He's a trusting man" isn't he?" The questionable object of this trust is, of course, Professor Severus Snape.

But it is not only Mad-Eye who raises doubts about Dumbledore's judgment. Ron Weasley thinks he is 'mental' to trust Snape and the resourceful Daily Prophet journalist, Rita Skeeter lambasts Dumbledore's well-intentioned, but crack-brained idea to appoint the monster-fixated and inadequate Hagrid as a professor.

In Dumbledore's favour it must be argued that he, like Harry Potter, appears to have an inkling of the danger that threatens Harry himself, and appears to be 'reading the signs' indicating Voldemort's increasing strength.

The arrival of the paranoid former Auror - Mad-Eye "Constant Vigilance" Moody on the scene as a special kind of tutor and a special guardian of Harry is also down to Dumbledore.

But the more we learn of Snape, the more we must wonder who precisely Snape is, and where precisely his loyalty lies... and where it might lie in future... And the more doubts there must be about Dumbledore's judgment in trusting him.

Goblet of Fire is exceptionally well read by Stephen Fry. Of particular delight are his portrayals of the unctuous Karkaroff and Mad-Eye Moody; nine-tenths of Moody’s meaning is imparted by tone and Fry gets this right every time.

Bloomsbury Publishing

Unabridged Audio CD Edition – 2007

Read by Stephen Fry

Litrev Rating

Overall 5______

Suspense 5______
Characters 5______
Plot 5______
Audio 5______
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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