I’ve written a lot about how Joe has amazingly covered the whole topic Harry Potter series in the first book (“Seven Obstacles to Seven Books”, “A Three-Book Chess Match”) and quite a bit in the second book (“Borgin and Burks’ Prophecy”). But one thing that hasn’t been talked about as much is the period of literary triumph that Joe received. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
As the years go by, my respect grows Goblet of fire grows – it grows very close to the eclipse Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as my second favorite lot. Considering how skillfully this mystery is executed and how much world building and character development the book has done, I’m even more impressed that Joe wrote it in a year. Goblet of fire is also the turning point of the series – as Joe says, “It’s literally the central book, it’s almost the heart of the series, and that’s important.” With that in mind, Joe used the Triwizard Tournament quests as a rehash or homage to the previous three books to celebrate reaching the halfway point of his masterpiece. (Shout out to Sophia Jenkins for helping me solve this theory!)
The first task
The first task is to get past the very dangerous dragon and get the golden egg. In other words, it’s all about a quest to acquire an object protected by deadly barriers – like Harry’s Sorcerer’s Stone in the first book. The golden hue of the prize is also parallel – if you need to get a golden egg, remember that the Sorcerer’s Stone (besides its powers related to immortality) turns any metal into gold.
Moody to Harry to pass the egg: “Play to your strengths” (GoF 344). It hears that all the obstacles protecting the Sorcerer’s Stone are specially designed to be overcome by the trio’s unique strengths: summoning fire, flying and searching, playing chess and using logic.
Of course, the dragon itself is also a callback Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and the misadventures of Norbert of the Norwegian Ridge – this dragon-centered ring ended later. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as a real example of ring theory at work. The first task is the only time apart from Norbert’s story Sorcerer’s Stone Charlie Weasley has everything to do with the plot – he appears before the task and gives Hagrid (and Harry) some useful information about the Hungarian horn.
And just like that Sorcerer’s Stone, the first task ends with detailed (and very objective) scoring. year Sorcerer’s Stone, we conclude with Dumbledore’s scoring of Gryffindor – the student singling out and counting their unique qualities – putting Gryffindor first, much to Dumbledore’s discomfiture. The first task ends with this “Ten marks each [judge]» (GoF 359). Interestingly, Dumbledore is among the impartial judges here, as are Karkaroff’s four and Bagman’s ten, but the end result is the same: Harry’s points tie him for first place. Unlike book 1, there is no tiebreaker to pit friends against, but we get the gist.
The second task
the second task as a parallel to the events Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets so obvious that it was the genesis of this essay. In the second mission, Harry is forced to go to a wet and underground place to save Weasley and his sister, even though he barely knows them. In other words… the same as rescuing Ginny from the ward.
Of course, the parallels run deeper than that. In the second task, as in the second book, Thousand Myrtle and Dobby have a significant presence.
Thousands of Myrtles give Harry important clues about what’s going on in the bathroom – in Book 2, Riddle’s Diary; In the second task, show that mermaids are the focal point. At both points, Harry inadvertently offends Myrtle—by pointing out that a thrown book will pass through her (CoS 230) and by asking how she’s supposed to breathe (GoF 465).
Then, in a climactic moment, Myrtle points him in the right direction: the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and the hostages.
Dobby spends a lot Chamber of Secrets Tries to save Harry’s life and at the end of the book promises never to do it again (CoS 339). Fortunately, he goes back on his word, and in the second quest, the house elf saves Harry’s life (or at least the success of his three wizards) by providing him with Gillyweed.
There is similar excitement on Hermione’s part as Harry solves the puzzle at the conclusion of both adventures:
Hermione [was] ran up to him and shouted, “You’ve decided! You nailed it!” (CoS 339)
“Well done Harry!” Hermione cried. “You did it, you knew it!” (GoF 504)
The third task
The third task is not exactly as parallel as the first two, but neither is the third book itself! However, moment by moment and scene by scene, we can find how the maze listens to the most important moments Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The Labyrinth opens with a Dementor-like Boggart (GoF 623). Prisoner of Azkabanwhere two creatures (including one transformed into the other) are prominently displayed.
The golden mist that turns Harry upside down (GoF 624) is hard to place, but I think the mist is a callback to the crystal ball’s mist and Professor Trelawney’s predictions in general. year Prisoner of Azkaban, before Harry can tire of the divination, Trelawny informs Harry that he has a Grimm and that death will be upon him. Harry, in fact, sees “Grimm” several times. Like a fog, his world was (figuratively) turned upside down as he wondered if he was going to die soon. However, Harry must put one foot in front of the other in order to overcome both the golden mist and the dire predictions – no matter what happens, he can overcome the obstacle.
Harry meets Scrooge, who has been a constant deadly feature of the Hogwarts grounds for the last year, like the Kimping Willow, blasted away. In the third book, the meaning of willow is doubled. First, it allows Sirius to enter the castle with a hiding place and despite all the defenses. Second, it’s a reference to Lupine’s lycanthropic secret and the Marauders’ school days, which is a very important backstory. Therefore, he deserves a Blast-Ended Skrewt-type avatar in the maze.
The key to this Scrooge-Willow parallel is how Harry navigates these deadly obstacles. At first he makes one misguided attempt to get through them the old-fashioned way. He casts a stunning spell on the Skrewt, who flicks Hair and sings (GoF 625-626). year Prisoner of Azkabanhe is “There, once, he jumped and tried to find his way through the wicked, shaking branches, but he could not get an inch closer to the roots of the tree.” (PoA 335-336). But both times, the key to overcoming an obstacle is to pause it and run for it. Crookshanks does not move the willow by pressing the knot; Harry is finally able to escape Scrut with a well-aimed barrier curse.
Harry next encounters Emperor Viktor Krum, who is torturing Cedric Diggory (GoF 626), and Krum is here serving as a stand-in for Sirius Black. At first, Krum appears to be very friendly (after preventing love triangles) despite coming from a sketch of Durmstrang, ruled by Karkarov. Then, in a shocking twist, Krum turns out to be evil when he attacks Cedric (Harry’s ally). But there’s yet another twist: Krum isn’t evil, and the attack isn’t all it seems.
With a few name changes, we get the titular arc Prisoner of Azkaban. At first, Sirius appears to be very friendly, despite being from a noble and oldest Black House sketch. Then, surprisingly, Sirius turns evil when he attacks Pettigrew (James’ ally). But there’s yet another twist: Sirius isn’t evil, and the attack isn’t all it seems.
After a fight with Krum, Harry comes across a sphinx (GoF 628): a cat with magical properties that allows Harry to cross a dangerous obstacle (himself!) and goes straight to the climax of the story. It’s a tribute to Crookshanks: a cat with magical properties (part Kneazle!), who allows Harry to get past a dangerous obstacle (the aforementioned Umping Willow) to go straight to the climax of the story.
Harry injured his leg in his fight with Acromantula (GoF 632), just as Ron broke his leg in his fight with Sirius (PoA 335). Harry and Cedric work together to defeat the Acromantula, their combined magic powerful enough to destroy the enemy (GoF 632). The trio’s combined disarming charm parallels the moment Snape was taken out in Howling Castle (PoA 361).
Finally, there is a moment when Harry refuses to accept his prize. In the third quest, he offers Cedric the chance to get the Triwizard Cup, no matter how badly he wants it (GoF 632). year Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry allows Pettigrew to escape even after using the Time-Turner despite his desire to capture the traitor (PoA 408). Both events lead to tragedy in the graveyard when Pettigrew kills Cedric and resurrects Lord Voldemort.
The scariest, the most amazing, most “I can’t put the book down now!” the tracks of the entire series will be closed Goblet of fire Chapter 32: “Lord Voldemort Rises” (GoF 643). BAM!! Does Joe know how to end a chapter or does he know how to end a chapter? The Harry Potter the series can be very neatly divided into two halves with that moment as an axis: when Voldemort returns to corporeal form Goblet of fireeverything changed irrevocably.
Perhaps in a world where books 5, 6 and 7 are only a bookshelf away, the impact of this moment has faded a bit. But when I first read the books, we only had the first four books in the triennial summer. While we don’t know how the rest of the series will play out, we do know that it will be very different from the previous one.
Just as the three tasks of the Triwizard Tournament all lead up to that moment, so did the first three books. Potter series. So it’s understandable that Joe wants to include a summary of these three books in the fourth: a “let’s think about where we’ve been” marker at the halfway point.
The books are full of both foreshadowing and callbacks to the previous books, but I can’t think of another example in the series that revisits the novels’ past so vividly. I think Joe’s winning streak was well deserved.
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