The Harry Potter gang is back for another year at Hogwarts in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the beloved Harry Potter series. This year, Harry will be competing in The Triwizard Tournament, a magical contest where Hogwarts faces the two other largest wizarding schools in Europe: Beauxbatons Academy of Magic in France and Durmstrang Institute in Bulgaria. But the contest is held at Harry’s school, so we still get to see Harry and his friends have more Hogwarts adventures (including a fancy ball with dancing; Harry has to channel his Gryffindor bravery and ask a girl to accompany him). It’s a well-written book with strong, curious, and courageous characters (though the series as a whole could use a few more lead female characters).
When I read the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hogwarts looked like it might be a fun school to go to. You get to (maybe) play quidditch, you can take cool classes and learn about spells and potions, and if you’re friends with Harry, you might even explore forbidden parts of the Hogwarts castle and get into some mischief. But by book four, I’m not sure I’d want to attend Hogwarts. The Triwizard Tournament is pretty dangerous – people have died in past years! – so I’m starting to question Professor Dumbledore’s judgment in holding the tournament.
Dumbledore says, “Once a champion has been selected by the Goblet of Fire, he or she is obliged to see the Tournament through to the end. The placing of your name in the Goblet constitutes a binding, magical contract. There can be no change of heart once you have become champion.” Having a magical contest where a player can under no circumstances leave the contest seems kind of scary to me. I mean, countries will sometimes back out of the Olympics. Is this the Triwizard Tournament or the Hunger Games?
But, aside from the terrifying aspect of the Triwizard Tournament, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is an exciting book that I’d recommend you add to your bookshelf. It’s a real page-turner.