Thursday, 20 November 2008

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Out of the Harry Potter movies, I think this is one of the better ones so far. I really rather liked the Philosopher's Stone as a good intro, but Goblet of Fire is probably second on my list. It's a good mixture of light and dark, and while it does cut out heaps from the book, it keeps in the right bits. In my opinion.

When we've got up to Goblet of Fire, Rowling started lashing out. No more Miss Nice Gal - or Miss Pretty Succinct Story Gal. She went the full hog. So the books had to be cut - a lot - for screen or end up with an epic like Ben Hur or Gone With the Wind just for one book.

Goblet of Fire is quite a fun book and it has some nice mixtures of dark and light. Of course there is the predictability - we know that Harry's name is going to come out of the Goblet despite the fact that he is restricted from enterinig the competition, so why bother stringing out the process?

The whole idea of the S.P.E.W. (Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare) was pretty amusing, though possibly a bit overdone. It was a good cultural satire of certain do-gooders who can turn others off, and who may believe they are doing good but are imposing their values on those they wish to help - a sort of "forcing them to be helped by my standards". It was probably wise to leave this secondary theme out of the movie but it was still a good plotline in the book.

As for Cho ... I cannot see what Harry sees in her! Harry shows terrible taste, fortunately he redeems himself later in the series by losing his infatuation. She's a giggly, egocentric, overemotional pain-in-the-butt.

The challenges in the Goblet of Fire are pretty good, satisfyingly dangerous and make for good reading. It's fairly obvious that Harry has been put in the challenge for evil reasons and You-Know-Who is behind the whole thing and Harry will triumph so three more books can be written. However, that doesn't diminish (as it never does in such books/movies) that it's really a great ride just finding out how he accomplishes each feat.

In this book, J.K. Rowling does start killing off characters. In this book it's a fairly minor character, but again, she's not playing Miss Nice Gal any more. In my opinion, the way it ended was "appropriate" and so was the choice of character ... not gratuitous ... and not cheesy. A better ending.

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