Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book written by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series. While I really liked this book the first time I read it, after subsequent re-reads, I keep finding more and more problems that make it much harder to enjoy.
- The description of the wizard's camp site and the various wizards from all over the world is really colorful.
- I like how the characters become more moody as they get older and become teenagers. It makes them seem more realistic.
- Rowling does a good job of talking about the jitters teens feel when it comes to finding a date for a dance.
- The whole idea of magic using power words becomes more problematic as the number of spells expand. Are the words created or discovered? Where did they come from? Are new words still being discovered? Why does a single word have a very specific outcome?
- The Wizarding world is really bigoted and highly unjust. They refuse to let non-humans carry wands, they killed or banished all the giants, they keep house elves as slaves, etc. Barty Croutch sentences Sirius to prison without even a trial?!
- Arthur Weasley's incompetence toward Muggle objects is quaint at first, but quickly becomes ridiculous when he can't distinguish between the number 20 and 5.
- The Ministry of Magic, and most of the wizarding world, seems to be entirely inept. A small band of Deatheaters start making trouble after the World Cup, and they aren't able to arrest a single one of them? They can't even successfully stun teenagers, but have no trouble making wild accusations toward them. Fudge unwittingly kills Barty Croutch, Jr., he's blind to Voldemort's return, he refuses to accept that he has returned, etc.
- What's the point of cancelling Quidditch for the entire school for the Tri-Wizard tournament if only a single student from Hogwarts is going to be in it, and there will only be three events spaced months apart? The maze could have been grown anywhere. It seems as though Rowling did this solely to make sure that Quidditch couldn't be played without Harry.
- Some of the teachers names are directly related to what they teach. Your name is Sprout? You'll teach herbology. Your name is Vector? You'll teach arithmancy, etc. I'm hoping these are nicknames, otherwise, the wizarding world seems to have very predetermined occupations.
- Despite being quite lovable, Hagrid really is a poor Care of Magical Creatures teacher, two years running now, and Dumbledore was unwise to give him the position. The students aren't learning anything in his class, and he routinely puts his students in danger.
- Why does Hogwarts continue to let Peeves stay in the school if all he does is ruin things and create mischief without contributing? Are the numerous professors all incapable of exorcising him?
- Since the teachers were in fear of under-aged students putting their names into the Goblet of Fire, why didn't they just require all the students to put their names in all at once, and then close it off? Why not post someone to guard it? An age charm will stop minors, but it won't stop an older student from putting in a younger student's name. Their negligence eventually led to Diggory's death.
- Even though Harry was forced to enter the tournament due to a contrived "magician's contract," why didn't the teachers just require him to purposely lose each event at the start? That would be fair to everyone else, while also keeping him safe.
- Kakarov was a confessed Deatheater who just barely made it out of prison, but the people of the wizarding world loved him enough to make him the headmaster of a children's school? They didn't see this as a bad idea?
- Having children steal eggs from mother dragons makes for an exciting story, but the extremely likely chance of a student being eaten or mauled to death makes it seem ludicrous. Madame Pompfrey may be able to regrow bones, but can she re-attach spinal cords?
- The wizarding world seems to have only a single news journal, The Daily Prophet, and it's quality appears to be on par with Fox "News." They give carte blanche to a constant lying hack like Rita Skeeter who puts out hit pieces on minors. Do wizards not have laws about slander? And why would the majority of wizards even read her, let alone take her seriously, including the Minister of Magic? Also, if being an unregistered animagus is such a crime that Skeeter would give up her livelihood for an entire year, why would she let random Slytherin students know about it?
- The Tri-Wizard Tournament is considered a spectator sport that the entire school comes out to watch, but two of the three events take place in areas that can't be seen, so why do they even bother bringing out the whole school to watch. Okay folks, for the next hour, we're going to watch bubbles appearing on the surface of the the lake! Then, we're going to watch the outer walls of a hedge maze, how exciting!
- Throughout the series we've been reminded that Hogwarts is protected from being discovered both by muggle technology and wizard divination. We're also told, over and over again, that apparating on, into, or out of the grounds is impossible. Lots of serious magic has been spent protecting the castle in this manner. And yet, nobody ever considered blocking port keys?
- Voldemort's plan was a total mess. He had someone abduct a powerful aurur and use a difficult-to-make potion to impersonated him for several months without anyone (even long time friends) noticing anything was wrong, so that he could sneak Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire even though the teachers were watching for foul play. All of this hinged not just on Harry being allowed to play and not being injured in the first two tasks, but also beating three other more competent students in the final task. Here's a slightly simpler route: mail Harry a package with a port key in it. When Harry opens the package and touches the port key, he will teleport to the graveyard. A more convoluted, but just as effective approach: kidnap a student on their way to platform 9 3/4, impersonate them with polyjucie, walk up to Harry, and toss a port key to him. When he catches it, he'll be teleported to the graveyard. Or, if you prefer an old fashioned approach: when Harry is in Hogsmede, hamd him a port key, and he'll teleport to the graveyard.
- Pretty much everything about Barty Croutch, Jr. is unbelievable. His escape from Azkaban was surprisingly easy (that's two confirmed escapes in the past year from an inescapable prison). Didn't any other prisoners think to try such tactics? Also, if Barty spent all that time in Azkaban and under his father's imperious curse, how did he become such a powerful wizard to rival Mooney and use the imperious curse on someone specifically trained to fight against it? And simply looking like someone else won't make everyone else, including people who have known you for years (like Dumbledore), believe that you are that person, yet Croutch was able to keep up the ruse for almost a year!