Saturday, March 16, 2013

HP Readalong: Goblet of Fire

Welcome to the last post on Goblet of Fire (one day late)!  The fact that I actually managed to read this was impressive, considering how stressful school and life have been, but it's like a forced relaxation exercise and totally works.  Next week we'll be starting Order of the Phoenix (eugh, the worst of the Harry Potters) but I'll be out of town so I have no idea how that'll work buuuut I'll figure it out.  Onwards!

The first time I ever read the scene in the graveyard, I did't really realize Cedric was dead at first.  I cried, but it was only after I asked myself why I was crying that I realized what had happened.  It was very odd - I understood it emotionally before I understood it cognitively.  This is a turning point in the book - when we see that fear and sadness are not only in the past - when Rowling become brave enough to kill.  I LOVE Harry's concern about Diggory's parents, when his first question of Dumbly is where they are - it's very sad and very real.  Whenever I hear about a child or adolescent dying, I always think about their parents too.  It's these kind of moments that make me love Harry, not his supposed heroism and extraordinariness.

Goblet of Fire is the book in which Rowling really shows her incredible plotting skills.  It's amazing how all of the weird happenings and off-hand details from the book all get explained so neatly.  Even Ludo Bagman, who was of course a red herring, makes sense in the end.  This is 700+ pages of tightly plotted mystery, a feat that not a lot of authors can pull off.

Of course, it doesn't make any sense.

Why exactly did Harry have to be entered into the Triwizard Tournament in order to be sent to Voldy?  Wasn't that a ridiculously big risk?  No matter what Barty/Moody did, there was always a high chance that Harry would burn or drown before reaching the third task and thus be of zero use to Voldy.  If Voldy's regeneration plan wasn't ready when Barty first became Moody, couldn't he have just bided his time and then handed Harry a portkey book or something?  That would also have kept anyone from knowing about it for longer and thus helped ensure success.  Of course, that wouldn't be nearly as exciting, just reasonable.

Also, as much as I LOVE the Barty/Moody twist, which explains so much, I can't help but wonder whether Barty really would have been able to pull it off, after a stint with the dementors followed by what, ten years (not sure about this number) of being under the Imperius Curse.  I mean, as crazy as he is, he's obviously very sane to pull this off and convince everybody, including the great and wonderful Dumbly that he's actually Moody for so long.  I'm thinking that I might not be so sane after going through his experiences.

This brings me to another issue with this whole thing: what happened to Voldy's body when he "died"?    In Sorcerer's Stone, we heard Hagrid doubt whether Voldy "had enough human left in him to die," but I feel like that matter should have been cleared up by the presence of a body.  If he left no body, why would anyone think he was dead?  But if he left his body, then how did he carry away his wand?  Because in the graveyard, he clearly has his original wand.  But he has stated that he was "less than spirit" or some such thing (I don't feel like finding the quote, sorry).  Can such a being tote a wand around?  Also, Cedric should not have come out of his wand - he was killed by Wormtail and I very much doubt that Voldy is in the practice of loaning his wand to inept servants.  Also, James should not have come out before Lily, since she died more recently (apparently this was changed in later editions?).  Ahoy, editors!
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For a brief update on Rowling's math skills: Mrs. Weasley "reminisced at length about the gamekeeper before Hagrid, a man called Ogg."  Except that we know Hagrid attended Hogwarts 50 years ago, when the Chamber of Secrets was open, and upon expulsion became gamekeeper, so Mrs. Weasley, who I highly doubt is older that 50, cannot possibly remember Ogg.  MATH LOGIC.  Speaking of Mrs. Weasley: "I must say, it makes a lovely change, not having to cook."  This is one of the only times in the series we see her eat a meal prepared by somebody else - POOR LADY.  Somebody take this woman out to dinner.

Finally, the moment of the whole series that I have never understood and is never resolved and has always driven me crazy.  In Dumbly's office, when Harry's explaining what happened: 'He could touch me without hurting himself, he touched my face.' For a moment, Harry thought he saw a gleam of something like triumph in Dumbledore's eyes.  ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!  Sure, it could be a misunderstanding...but...no...

Aaaand, this quote: Decent people are so easy to manipulate (676).  That sucks.  And is probably true.
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16 comments:

  1. Yeah....the whole "Harry must win the Triwizard tournament to get to Voldy" doesn't really make a lot of sense. Or at least wasn't one of the more difficult ways to do this. Of course I suppose it was sort of a plan made by a crazy person so maybe that's why...

    I think it was in the movie that Wormtail killed Cedric, but in the book they say it was the screeching voice so I think it actually was Voldy that did it. He had enough dexterity to kill the Muggle in the first chapter so it seems to make sense he'd be able to do it in this last scene.

    I never got that triumph in Dumbly's eyes thing. Cos I thought it would come up later and I don't think it ever does, right? I don't remember books 5-7 as much as the early ones. I love book 5 but am so afraid of the ending.

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    1. In the book, "a high, cold voice" says "Kill the spare," and a second screechy voice does it. Voldy's voice is usually described as high and cold, and I don't think Wormy's giving him orders....maybe he's talking to himself, lol. They're all crazy.

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  2. "Whenever I hear about a child or adolescent dying, I always think about their parents too. It's these kind of moments that make me love Harry, not his supposed heroism and extraordinariness."

    -So true. I think some people like to diminish Harry as just a hero archetype, but he's so much more than that, and it's moments like those that really show it. Like him clutching on to Cedric's body when he returns - ugh Harry, right in the feels.

    Ok, so I gave up on the age timelines and went to the HP Lexicon. They list Hagrid as born in 1928, Mr and Mrs Weasley -1950, Bill - 1970. This is based around JK's in and outside of book statements, but they also put the birth year of Sirius/Lupin/Snape/James/Lily as 1957-59 even though it clearly lists their birth year as 1960 in the 7th book when they visit Harry's parent's graves. All of this is a roundabout way of saying Molly is either misremembering or Hagrid was still considered an apprentice or second in charge, so wasn't officially games keeper. I guess. Seriously, JK needed to spend a little more time hammering these details out, or completely avoid specifics because this is doing my head in.

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    1. She tends to put in these little asides without thinking them through. Sure, they fill out the story, but they need to make sense too!

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  3. Also, I just did the maths and Hagrid would have been Games Keeper (apprentice or otherwise) for 20 ish years when Molly came to Hogwarts, so there is no excuse not to remember him!

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  4. i have often pondered how it was that Voldemort was able to find/maintain his wand when he was non-corporeal. Did Quirrell help him track it down? Wormtail, sometime between the end of book 3 and the beginning of book 4? Could he accio it using a different wand? When he left Quirrell's body, he had to have had some physical form (as opposed to when the AK backfired on him when Harry was a baby). I dunno. But I love to think about it.

    So true about recognizing Harry's immense decentness and humanity.

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  5. This comment is a lot spoiler-y so do avoid if you don't want to know/remember the future book plots.
    The moment of triumph is because (SPOILERS) Dumbledore now realizes that Voldemort himself has become a receptacle for Harry's blood. So even if Harry is killed by him, Voldemort being alive will ensure Harry will not be killed. At least that is how interpret things after events in the seventh book.

    While I really have no theories about Voldy's body (still more Spoilers :P ), I do remember reading that Wormtail is said to have gone looking for Voldy's wand and found it for him (I think this is not from any of the books but a Rowling interview). Ollivander says in the seventh book that he made Wormtail a new wand. I think this could imply that Wormtail used Voldy's wand to kill Cedric since Ollivander was kidnapped before the seventh book.

    And the Moody thing is seriously rather unbelievable. The only memories Crouch and Moody would have had in common are until he was sent to jail. How does he know what all is up with Moody after that? Neither a Voldy who is hiding away or a Wormtail staying in Hogwarts could have found out such intimate details enough to convince Dumbledore? Or did Moody not have any conversations with people he must have known from the Order for a long, long time?

    I had a week long Potter reading just last week all for myself and ended up reading many interviews to find out the answers to these doubts. They all came in handy today apparently so I will go tell my guide that I was not at all wasting my time now :P

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    1. I understand your explanation about the look of triumph, but I need more from the book itself. because we don't hear about that until the 7th book, and it's in no way linked back to this moment, there's not enough there to convince me. It's a good theory though.

      Also, I have a thing about Rowling giving away information in interviews. To me it doesn't count if it's not in the book! I think I'm repeating myself, lol. But even so, where would he have found the wand?! I feel like it would have been destroyed or under better protection than a mediocre wizard could have broken through. If Rowling wants to write a short story showing how this happened, I will totally accept it as canon. :]

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    2. I have my issues with the interviews information (and now Pottermore) too. I have to trawl the internet for any sundry clues spread over various interviews. Now that she has shelved her encyclopaedia idea too, all we are left with is Pottermore and we do not have time for that.

      The look of triumph has been very vaguely explained everywhere and that is the only explanation which I could sort of see being satisfactory. But yeah, even if there was a sentence sort of linking back to that inexplicable moment.

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  6. I've been listening to the whole series on audio for ages and coincidentally my listening and the readalong coincided this week, so I've enjoyed all the posts!

    The Dumbledore triumph moment confused me too, so I'm glad someone else explained it above!

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    1. You can join in the readalong if you want! I don't think there are any requirements that you start from the beginning!

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  7. I was thinking about Hagrid and Mrs Weasley, too. I think Hagrid was definitely expelled long before Mrs Weasley went to school, as you say, but he wouldn't have been made gamekeeper, or maybe even apprentice gamekeeper, until Dumbledore became headmaster. Still might have overlapped, though. Does it say in the books that Hagrid went right from expulsion to gamekeeping?

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    1. I'm fairly sure it's in CoS that Hagrid reveals that Dumbledore had got him the job - because otherwise he was an orphan with no where to go.

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    2. I'm pretty sure that Hagrid says that when he was expelled, Dumbledore helped him get the position. There's no timeline but it's implied that this happens immediately. Also, he was a child at that time and doesn't mention anybody else ever caring for him...

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  8. 'Of course, that wouldn't be nearly as exciting, just reasonable.' - Kind of this whole series, AMIRITE?

    That D-dore quote has baffled a LOT of people. I am one of those people. EXPLAIN YOURSELF, JK.

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  9. I heard once that Stephen King is TERRIBLE and needs tons of editing, and ever since I've fantasized about being Some Famous Author's editor and just ripping into their stuff with glee. The things copy editors dream about.

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