Friday, February 22, 2013

HP Readalong 4.1

Goblet of Fire was the first book of the series that I had to wait for.  I pre-ordered it at either a Waldenbooks or a B. Dalton (remember those stores?).  Then I realized that the book would be released while I was at camp and BEGGED my mom to pick it up before she came to visit me, which she refused to do since she was convinced that I would ruin it.  So I was very grumpy and spent my last week or two at camp begging other people's copies and waking up early so that I could sneak them out of the cabin.  When I got home and finally got my book, I parked myself in a recliner, started on page 1, and read all 734 pages in one day.  It was the first book of the series that made me cry.  Happy Harry Potter Day, ya'll.

SO.  I decided to read the actual book instead of listening to the audiobook and have marked SO MANY THINGS that it's going to be an effort not to write the longest post ever.  I'll do my best.  We open in the little, removed town of Little Hangleton, which we're seeing for the first but not the last time, following an old Muggle man named Frank Bryce, who was once accused of murdering the Riddles.  Hmm, that name sounds familiar.  I LOVE going into someone else's perspective instead of all Harry and wish that JK would do this more often.  I also love how many clues JK drops in this one chapter, all of which the average reader (AKA one who hasn't read the series a hundred times) would promptly forget.  The mentions of Bertha Jorkins, a second free "faithful" servant, and the fact that Harry Potter is needed for something are all like little gifts to the avid re-reader.  Thank you, JK.

Then the Weasley's show up and Harry observes that "Mr. Weasley thought Dudley was quite as mad as the Dursleys thought he was, except that Mr. Weasley felt sympathy rather than fear" (46).  Of course, Mr. Weasley did just blast their living room apart without their permission in a rather threatening and inconsiderate display of magic, so can you really blame them?  Also, don't you find Mr. Weasley to be rather condescending of Muggles?  I love him and all but he's always like "oh, those cute little Muggles with their cute little Muggle things."  As a Muggle, I have to reiterate my comment from a few posts ago: at least we don't sit around in drafty castles when there's central heating to be had!

And then they're off to the Quidditch World Cup!  What fun!  Harry meets Amos Diggory, who's all, "Bwahaha, my son beat YOU, guess you're not so great, eh?" and I'm all "What a douche and I love it!"  Because Harry's really pretty mediocre.  And then they get to the field and the overplayed and underused character of Ludo Bagman shows up and the twins make the MOST RIDICULOUS BET EVER AND THEY WIN.  Seriously, why would they guess that Ireland would win but Krum would get the Snitch unless they know something we don't?!  And how do they know?  Illicit Time-Turners abound in this book.  Also, what was Krum thinking?  Why wouldn't he just block Lynch and retain the possibility of a Bulgaria win??  Why does one player get to decide this for the whole team?  I don't understand!!

 photo tumblr_lmqb18ilNW1qcm4vyo1_500_zpsa3e37baa.gif

Then a bunch of old Death Eaters show up and can I just say that they are portrayed fantastically in the movie?  They remind me of Klansmen, except not in white, and give me the shivers.  Eugh.  This scene also indicates something that will be important later on - the wizarding population have no organized police force or army.  Percy, Mr. Cauldron Bottoms himself, needs to go fight the Death Eaters, for crying out loud.  People need to protect themselves and their loved ones, and they are the only people on the line between order and chaos.  This is disturbing but also gives insight into their lives and Harry's choice of vigilante justice later in the series.  It's a wizard-blast-wizard world and the fact that they ever maintain any semblance of order is actually kind of impressive.


Then Harry returns to Hogwarts!  And we hear the Sorting Hat sing a new song!  And it is in alternating lines of really good iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter and I am like whoa.  I only realized this because I sang the song out loud to myself (because I'm cool like that) and the rhythm broke through really clearly.  Kudos to your skills in verse, JK.  After that, everyone eats, and Hermione's all, "what? slaves? HUNGER STRIKE!"  And Ron says, "I'm an asshole Treacle tart Hermione!...  Spotted dick, look!  Chocolate gateau!"  As a vegetarian who people often think can be tempted into eating meat, OMG is that annoying and obnoxious.  Also, "spotted dick."  Snort.  Says the American.  Then Dumbledore's like "We're going to have this super-fun tournament and we promise that we'll do our best to keep people from dying this time, kay?"  And I'm right there with Hermione when she's all, "Is this really a good idea, guys?"  Because Hogwarts is the scariest place ever.

Two fussy little asides: 
1) Harry was born in July of 1980, right?  So the beginning of this book, when he turns 14, should take place in the summer of 1994, right?  So when Harry talks about Dudley's PlayStation, it's obvious that Dudley is keeping secret the fact that he's magical and has a Time-Turner of his own, because the PlayStation was first released in Japan in December 1994 and so there's no other way for him to be playing Mega-Mutilation Part Three (3!  Not even part 1!).
2) "His [Dean's] old poster of the West Ham football team was pinned right next to it.  'Mental,' Ron sighed, shaking his head at the completely stationary soccer players" (191, emphasis mine).  Enough said.
Master Post

20 comments:

  1. Your point about the Muggle-patronizing is well-taken. On the other hand, Mr. Weasley talking knowledgeably about "eckeltricity" is one of my favorite things that he ever says. Maybe my absolute most favorite.

    Also, re Quidditch bet: I don't think it's that crazy. They've been listening to the other international Quidditch games on the radio, right? So they know the teams' strengths and weaknesses. The Irish team is stronger at every position but Seeker. It's a daring bet but I don't think indicative of whatever the sports equivalent of insider trading is. :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favorite Mr. Weasley line is, "What exactly is the function of a rubber duck?" but that, of course, is from one of the movies.

      I suppose they could have predicted it from their knowledge of the players but that would include a lot of extra knowledge about Krum's cockiness. And to put ALL their savings (as poor kids) on the bet seems highly risky without some sort of guarantee...

      Delete
  2. You, now that I'm thinking about it... I've only seen the 4th movie twice. There's obviously a HP movie marathon in my near future.

    I was wondering why no one really questions the Weasley twins as to how they made such an awesome prediction... it really seems like some shifty happenings there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The movie is...okay. It's definitely the most faithful to the book of all the movies, but it doesn't bring it's own element. Generally I find adaptations to be the best when they add their own touches (like Lupin playing the music while they fight the boggart, or all the making out in Half-Blood Prince) and GoF doesn't have any of that.

      Delete
  3. Hm. A Google search says much of the internet agrees with you about Harry's birth date, but I always thought that the books were happening as in the present as they could. The Philosopher's Stone was published in 1997, and I thought the book was set in 1997. Which would mean Harry was born in 1986. Where does it indicate that he was born in 1980?

    I'm so with you on how great the costumes were for Death Eaters in the movie. Using the scary, hateful connotations that come with the Klan was a great way to get people to react to the Death Eaters with the proper mix of fear and disgust.

    This was the first book I had to wait for, too! Ah, GoF. You are so great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In Deathly Hallows, Harry visits his parents' graves, which say that they died in 1981 and we know that Harry was one year old when that happened, ergo 1980. I don't think it's ever explicitly stated though. Also, glad you're with me on the KKK association! It is clever and definitely the right choice, but it freaks me out every time.

      Delete
    2. Ah ha! Then yes. I doubt Harry was born in 1986 if his parents died in 1981. Even "Magic!" can't explain us out of that one.

      Delete
  4. Nawww, spotted dick is still funny even for an English person, believe me!

    I'm so glad you said that the Death Eaters remind you of Klansmen, because that is the ONE thing I forgot to include in my post. But YES and also HOW CLEVER IS THAT? Very. It's very clever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, so glad to hear it! I'm tempted to look it up, but I fear that knowing what it is will just spoil it for me!

      Delete
  5. The scene where the Weasleys bust into the Dursleys' home, I was on the Dursleys' side cos seriously, what the hell?? I would be PISSED if someone showed up and just Kool-Aid Man-ed my living room. And yeah, as much as he says he likes them, Mr. Weasley is super condescending of Muggles. "Oh look at all the adorable things they have to do just to get by. My my, isn't that cute." But my love for the Weasleys trumps any ill feelings I have towards that behavior.

    Good point about there not being a wizarding police force. What gives? I mean they have the aurors but I guess those were disbanded when Voldie went missing right? Was that the closest they had? They have wizarding jail but is it just the ministry people who have to apprehend bad guys?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They can't have been disbanded because Tonks is an experienced auror when she's introduced in the next book.

      Delete
    2. Hmm but what are the aurors doing when Voldie is gone? Would she have just helped round up the last of the dark wizards? It seems in the beginning of the series that the dark wizards are pretty much gone, although people think some are just in hiding.

      Do they handle non-dark wizard crimes? They probably should. And now I'm picturing a new version of Law and Order.

      Delete
    3. I hadn't thought of the Aurors - why don't they show up? Maybe because they haven't been thought up yet? Lol. But maybe they're just for really serious stuff and this wasn't considered so bad because it "just" involved Muggles? But in general, it does seem like the Ministry officials deal with everything. Arthur goes to break up incidents all the time in his job and references other offices that do too. And in the last book, it's the general population that fights Voldy, not an organized military. Wizarding folk seem so be on their own.

      Delete
    4. The HP wiki lists aurors as investigating crimes related to dark magic, so I guess even with Voldemort gone there were probably pockets of dodgy wizards around, just not as intense as during Voldy's reign.

      It also says that there were 3 years where none were hired, so it was probably a pretty small cohort. And it lists them as similar to an intelligence agency, so it's also possible that the events at the woods weren't deemed important enough. Maybe?

      Delete
  6. "at least we don't sit around in drafty castles when there's central heating to be had!"

    SO TRUE. I would never go to Hogwarts unless they let me pack a spaceheater and an electric blanket.

    "As a vegetarian who people often think can be tempted into eating meat, OMG is that annoying and obnoxious."

    ALSO SO TRUE.

    And I giggled at spotted dick, too. And before I figured out it must be some kind of dessert, I thought it was an exclamation ("Spotted dick, look!" = "Merlin's arse, look!").

    Maybe the twins are secretly psychic? Because otherwise... that's their whole savings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it bothers me. Seems like kids from a poor family wouldn't take such a risk unless they could be sure. I could see, say, Malfoy making such a bet, but not any Weasleys.

      Delete
  7. I never even thought about the play station thing but you're so right!

    I believe I read somewhere that the reason Harry is born in 1980 as opposed to 1986 is because she had been nutting out the story for a few years before she finally wrote HP&PS and had it published. So she continued along the timeline she'd originally intended, but then clearly forgot and made little mistakes like the play station.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I could kiss you for your fussy asides.

    ReplyDelete