“Don’t talk to me.”
“Because I want to fix that in my memory for ever. Draco Malfoy, the amazing bouncing ferret…” (223)
In a nutshell, Joanne Rowling‘s 755 page book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is a Good Book. That’s the important part of the review, out the way already. GoF represents the series’ full transition into a darker series, and marks the beginning of the series’ primary plot concerning (spoiler) the second rise of Lord Voldemort (end spoiler). While the first three books lead up to this point, they are primarily self contained, both on the level of the individual chapter, and the books as a whole. Moreover, they mainly focus on their titular theme; Philosophers stone focuses on the philosopher’s stone, the Chamber of Secrets on the chamber and its monster, and the Prisoner of Azkaban on the escape of Sirius Black. However, GoF expands its horizons, including not only the international triwizard tournament, but also the slow disordering of the wizarding world and the ominous hints of worse things yet to come. While the first three books are three, mostly separate stories, the entire series from GoF on can be thought of one story, split into four darker parts.
This lack of self containment benefits the book. When I reread the series from the beginning, I was struck by just how compartmentalized the Philosophers Stone is, and it definitely hurt the experience for me. But GoF does not suffer from this issue, and tells a well crafted and exciting story. The structure of the Triwizard Tournament makes the book quite exciting, and the tournament is used well to drive the plot forward, even if the exact use is a bit unrealistic and overly complicated.
I also appreciate the look that GoF gives into the lives of witches and wizards in other counties. The entire story of Harry Potter is almost exclusively focused on the lives of British magic users, so it is nice to be reminded that so many other magic using cultures exist.