By Jonathan Reed
Video supplied by CBS Sunday Morning©
Every-so-often a book series comes around, which like a nuclear explosion ignites the entire globe. Masterpieces such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Chronicles Of Narnia and The Lord Of The Rings are definitive of this. But nothing has ever come close to the seismic impact the Harry Potter series has made both within the book world and beyond.
There are seven books in total, and whilst it would be easy to choose all seven, one does stick out from the pack. Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire is, without a doubt, the best book in series. Why? Well, it was the point of change which would take the boy wizard’s story in a whole new perilous direction.
This change would cover everything from Harry himself, older, feistier and beginning to recognise girls (Cho Chang in particular), to Hogwarts’ school curriculum. It is the latter’s change which becomes the basis for Harry’s fourth year.
Gone is Quidditch, instead the Triwizard Tournament takes place. The competition which pits three schools, Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons, against one another became a thrilling and exciting addition for the Harry Potter Universe. Consisting of three tasks – fighting a Dragon, saving a friend from the black Lake and finally navigating through a mystical maze – it took the inventiveness of J.K. Rowling’s imagination to new unexplored realms and the books benefitted immensely because of it.
The Goblet of Fire itself, the object with which the book is titled after, is a prime example of this. Each student wishing to compete must write their name on a piece of parchment and place it into the fire. On the night of the selection, the Goblet picks out three ‘champions’, one from each school, to compete. This time however, a fourth is picked – Harry. It leads to a development in character relationships we hadn’t seen before in the books.
Harry and Ron fall out, leading to them refusing to communicate with one another for a large portion of the book, and Hermione becomes the image of intrigue to professional Quidditch player, Victor Krum. Each character takes on more real emotions, enduring them to the reader.
But whilst older characters are explored, new ones are also introduced. None more so than the new Defence Against The Dark Arts teacher, Professor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody. His brutal and pointed attitude to teaching is both intimidating and exciting. But it is his underlying need to help Harry which becomes a source of comfort for the teenager. It is due to this which is why the final twist is so shocking.
What becomes very apparent as Harry and the Weasley’s attend the Quidditch World Cup, is the level of threat has increased ten-fold. As the ‘Dark Mark’ (the sign used by Harry’s nemesis Lord Voldemort) is fired into the sky, you can’t help but feel that the book is leading up to something.
Put simply, it does.
Goblet Of Fire is Harry’s book of change, and the biggest emerges in the closing chapters. As Harry and Cedric (the other Hogwarts’ champion), both complete the third task and are transported to a graveyard, events are set in motion which leads to the biggest and most deadliest event in the entire Harry Potter series – the return of Lord Voldemort.
The Dark Lord’s resurrection provides the books with their first death and true battle between ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’ and ‘The Boy Who Lived’. It is thrilling stuff, and as Harry escapes returning to Hogwarts, it leaves you guessing how the rest of his story will play out.
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire is a masterpiece in storytelling. It fully immerses the reader into the magical world of Hogwarts and takes Harry’s story into new unexplored realms. It washes away the tones and textures of the previous three instalments and sets up the beginning of the epic finale. It is the best Harry Potter, and that’s saying something.