Hello lovelies! This week I finished the fourth book of my Great Harry Potter Re-Read, Goblet of Fire! This has always been one of my favorite books in the series, and I loved it just as much this time around!
As a reminder, the plot of this book goes something like this (spoiler spoiler spoiler):
Harry goes to stay with Ron at the Burrow for the end of their summer vacation. They, some of the other Weasleys, and Hermione go to see the Quidditch World Cup. The game is the best ever, but that night a group of Voldemort’s former supporters get together and do horrible things to some muggles. However, they’re scared off when an unknown wizard fires Voldemort’s symbol into the sky.
Back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore announces that this year the magic school will host the Triwizard Tournament, in which three students from Hogwarts, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons will compete for glory and riches. Although the tournament is only open to students older than 17, Harry is mysteriously chosen as a fourth champion by the Goblet of Fire. Everyone is super mad, but Harry is obligated to compete.
The people close to him find it very fishy that the goblet was hoodwinked into choosing Harry, and they warn him to be on his toes because Durmstrang’s headmaster is a known former death eater who could be trying to harm him. Harry makes it through all three tasks (with a lot of help, of course — but it’s okay because cheating is TRADITIONAL in the Triwizard Tournament). However, when he and Cedric, the other Hogwarts champion, reach the end of the third challenge at the same time and grasp the Triwizard Cup together, they are transported to a far-away graveyard. Cedric is immediately murdered, and Harry is forced to take part in Voldemort’s re-birth. After much terror and danger, Harry manages to escape back to Hogwarts, where no one but Dumbledore and Harry’s friends believe his assertion that Voldemort has returned.
Okay. Things I love about this book:
- Harry turns into a total awkward teen with his crush on Cho Chang.
- Ron and Hermione are infuriating with their bickering and jealousy, but I love knowing that SOMEDAY they will realize they really love each other.
- Voldemort’s return. I love that the books are finally going to take a dark turn!
- Blast-ended screwts. I mean, how did JKR even come up with those? Leave it to Hagrid to create the most horrible monsters and ask his teenage students to take care of them.
Reading The Goblet of Fire this time around made me really think about one thing in a different way: house elves. Hermione gets super upset when she finds out that wealthy wizarding families (and Hogwarts) employ elves as slaves. They are passed down through generations, and it is their purpose in life to serve their families. And they seem totally cool with it. They LIKE serving, and they’re horrified of the idea of freedom or getting paid. And until now, I was like, yeah, okay, slavery is bad, but it can’t really be THAT bad in this case because the house elves are HAPPY. (Well, except for Dobby, but he’s an anomaly.) Now I realize that that is really not a valid argument. Paternalistic isn’t the word I’m looking for, but it’s kind of close? In US history, we enslaved Africans, claiming that they were inferior and savage and that they needed us to take care of them. That they were naturally subordinate and incapable of living civilized lives on their own. And that’s basically how wizards think of house elves, and it’s so ingrained that house elves believe it, too. I’m sorry I scoffed before, Hermione. I will totally join S.P.E.W now.
I’m having so much fun re-reading this series, and it’s nice to go into them with a more enlightened, educated mindset than I have before. But I’m still enjoying the stories just as much as I did the first time I read them!