Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – JK Rowling

harry potter and the goblet of fire adult edition

Harry Potter #4

Harry Potter is a wizard who was having quite the raw summer with his Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and their horrible son, Dudley Dursley. He is having an even worse summer than usual seeing as he almost got to live with his godfather, Sirius Black, though his name was not cleared before the summer vacation. He was still labelled a mass murdered and Dark wizard. Harry is only too thrilled when his best friend in the world, Ron Weasley, invites him to stay and go to the Quidditch World Cup. Harry is elated, and soon the remainder of his holiday is spent in the company of the Weasleys and Hermione Granger, another close friend. Excited about the Quidditch World Cup, the friends have an absolute blast. However, all good things come to an end, and Voldemort, the most evil Dark Wizard of their time, seems never to be forgotten. His followers terrorize a Muggle family, and finally the Dark Mark is sent into the air, causing massive panic.

Barty Crouch, a member of the Ministry of Magic, sacks his house elf, Winky, when she is discovered near the Dark Mark, carrying Harry’s wand. This spurs Hermione on to start SPEW, an organization intent on helping the house elves in the world. The Dark Mark marred the Quidditch World Cup a little bit, and Harry starts to wonder. His scar was prickling during the summer, but he is sure Voldemort is nowhere near him. Returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the students are elated to hear that the Triwizard Tournament has been reinstated, and will be hosted at Hogwarts this year. However, no student under the age of seventeen may enter, and there are many disappointed students, including Ron’s twin brothers, Fred and George, who are intent on finding a way to enter, anyhow. Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody starts at Hogwarts as the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, and soon the students are in awe of him. As an ex-Auror, Moody has caught many Dark wizards and Death Eaters, and is training the students intensely to defend themselves.

Students from Beauxbatons Academy and Durmstrang Institute arrive to submit the names to have their champions chosen, and Durmstrang comes with a highly notable guest: Viktor Krum, the Bulgarian Seeker that they saw play at the Quidditch World Cup. The night the Goblet of Fire chooses the champions is a wonderful one, and everyone is thrilled when Cedric Diggory of Hufflepuff is chosen as the Hogwarts champion, while Fleur Delacour is the representative for Beauxbatons and Viktor Krum for Durmstrang. In confusion, Harry is also chosen as a champion, and Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore is furious. It is a magically binding contract, and Harry will have to compete, whether he likes it or not.

Incredibly popular among the Gryffindor students and loathed by the remainder of the school, Harry has an incredibly hard time dealing with it all seeing as his best friend, Ron, the person he was counting on the most to stand by him, refuses to believe that Harry had nothing to do with entering the tournament. Their friendship suffers heavily. Draco Malfoy, Harry’s ultimate nemesis, is having a ball with Harry’s suffering. However, Harry has the issue of the three tasks coming up, and not knowing how he would be dealing with it. His first task is set, which happens to be retrieving a golden egg from a dragon, and he needs to figure out how to do that, soon. As though Harry was not having enough issues as was, Daily Prophet reporter Rita Skeeter publishes exceptionally demeaning stories about Harry. Sirius meets with Harry to warn him about the Durmstrang headmaster, Igor Karkaroff. He was a convicted Death Eater. It seems Moody’s assessment that someone may be trying to use the tournament to harm Harry isn’t so crazy after all.

When their fight blows over, Harry and Ron finally have much to talk about again, and so many things were missed. Harry needs all the help he can get, and is pleased to find that Dobby the house elf, whom he had once freed from the employ of Lucius Malfoy, is working at Hogwarts. Harry has two more tasks to complete, and a crowd to win over. However, strange occurrences seem to be taking place, and nobody seems to be taking note of them aside from Dumbledore and Sirius, as well as the three friends.

What do all the omens mean? Do the dreams that Harry is having have anything to do with what is going on outside of the walls of Hogwarts? Did Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew return to Lord Voldemort when he escaped from Sirius’s clutches at the end of last term, snatching Harry’s future away from him entirely? What is going on at Hogwarts, and is Mad-Eye Moody just crazy, or is something more sinister going on than meets the eye?

GRADE 9.5Another stellar input from J.K. Rowling. The sheer excitement you get caught up in at the Quidditch World Cup was amazing, and Fred and George with their tricky little jokes and inventions was great. It was intense to have Harry and Ron fighting the way that they did, it was very difficult to bear through. Harry’s loneliness was palpable, as was the shock of his name having come out of the Goblet. It was a little disappointing that Snape featured so little in this book; he has always been a very central part of the Harry Potter world, in my opinion. It is not that he was not a part of this book, but it seems very little that he cropped up. Mad-Eye was also a great character, and he incites that necessity for constant vigilance, even with the readers. It was through him that you started to wonder if more was going on than the average wizard was aware of.  The events were awesome to follow in this book, and there was much fun to be had, as well as a lot to make you nervous and wonder. Dobby played another important role in Goblet of Fire for Harry, and he always brings something extra to the table. For the first time, a little pubescent nervousness is brought to the fore what with the Yule Ball, and we have a look at Harry developing some type of inexplicable (at that age) feelings towards Cho Chang. This book was magical, and did not become boring or dragged out at any point. The twins provided humour, as always, and a little bit more of Cedric Diggory’s personality was explored. Rita Skeeter brought in the frustrating element of this book, and even had me just taken a little aback by how nasty and cruel she was. The story behind Neville’s living with his grandmother broke my heart. He lost so much, yet never says anything. I would highly recommend this book, as it was in my top few. Definitely worth the read.

SPOILER: The rise of Voldemort has long since been anticipated, and I thought that it was exceptionally well done in this book. He was terrifying, cruel and mean, nothing short of what you would have expected him to be when he regained his strength. The graveyard duel was intense, and Diggory’s death was terrible to have been brought into play. The Death Eaters’ cowardly return was awful to behold.

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling

3 - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #3

Harry Potter starts his summer awfully – owl post irritates his aunt and uncle, and Uncle Vernon’s sister, Aunt Marge, is coming to stay. Harry has no idea what to do. He is a young wizard that has survived another year at Hogwarts, again interrupted by the greatest enemy of the wizarding world: Lord Voldemort. A madman has broken out and is roaming the streets of London. Sirius Black is at large. However, striking up a deal, Harry agrees to toe the line for Uncle Vernon if he signs Harry’s permission slip to visit Hogsmeade Village at certain weekends. Instead, Harry blows his aunt up when she becomes far too rude about Harry’s deceased parents, and he makes a run for it. While out there, he sees a huge dog, which he later discovers is called a Grim, and considered a death omen. Sure that he will be expelled, Harry makes his way towards the magical Diagon Alley, where he is directly headed off by the Minister for Magic himself, Cornelius Fudge. Instead of being labelled an outcast, Harry is told the rest of his summer he is permitted to stay at the Leaky Cauldron, and that he must be dreadfully careful. Sirius Black is a wizard, and an awfully powerful one at that. He was Voldemort’s right hand man, and he has escaped from Azkaban, something no wizard has ever done before.

Before boarding the Hogwarts Express, Harry discovers that Sirius Black is after him, and that he must be careful. Harry is intent on being careful. His best friends, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley are fighting endlessly. Hermione purchased a huge ginger cat named Crookshanks that is intent on making Ron’s rat, Scabbers, a divine meal. The two argue incessantly, and on the train they meet their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Remus Lupin. The Azkaban guards, the Dementors, have been posted around Hogwarts until Black’s capture, but they have a terrible effect on Harry, who passes out around them every time. Before long, he has his studies to deal with, and some intense mockery from his archenemy, Draco Malfoy.

Harry’s friend, a giant of a man named Rubeus Hagrid, is now teaching Care of Magical Creatures, and starts well enough with Hippogriffs for the class. Draco Malfoy taunts one by the name of Buckbeak, and ends up in the hospital wing. He milks the injury for all that it is worth. Using his injury, he has the Slytherin team’s match against Gryffindor postponed, and Harry is damn near killed by dementors flooding onto the pitch. His trusty Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick gets blown away and ripped to shreds by the incredibly violent Whomping Willow. After receiving the latest broomstick on the market, the Firebolt, Harry, Ron and Hermione get into a little tiff when Hermione runs to Professor Minerva McGonagall, head of the Gryffindor House, about the broomstick. They are positive Sirius Black has sent it to Harry.

Professor Lupin starts anti-dementor lessons with Harry, intent on teaching him the Patronus Charm to ward them off, and Harry wishes to learn it. However, the Grim continually turns up, and Harry is worried. Hermione’s and Ron’s relationship deteriorates worse than ever when Ron’s bedsheets are covered in blood and ginger hair, and Scabbers is missing. The three attempt to help Hagrid with Buckbeak’s upcoming hearing, trying not to get the poor thing killer. Sirius Black launches an array of break-ins and attacks against Hogwarts, and the students are fearful. Harry receives the Marauder’s Map from Fred and George, and the beautiful map shows him all of Hogwarts and the grounds. Harry uses it to sneak off to Hogsmeade, where on a certain trip he learns of a terrible history concerning Sirius Black and his father, James Potter. They were the very best of friends, and Black sold James out to Voldemort.

The information is crushing for Harry, who now hates Black more than ever. He was left orphaned due to a best friend’s betrayal? What will Harry do now that he knows about Black’s connection to his family? What will they do about Buckbeak’s upcoming trial? Will Ron and Hermione ever be able to get over their issues concerning their pets? Will Harry be able to stay under Black’s radar, escape the man or exact vengeance, whichever option presents itself first?

GRADE 9This is one of those books that I absolutely adore. I loved Buckbeak, I loved Sirius Black and his infamous escape, I loved the introduction of the Dementors and the Firebolt gift. This book is just special, and so great. I love how J.K. Rowling has the ability to ensnare both children and adults in her magical world of Harry Potter. The writing style was again excellent, and the story for this was so in depth and complicated. It was wonderful to meet Lupin, and have Harry get his hands on the very cool Marauder’s Map, as well as the anger, bitterness and fear that was conveyed in the pages of this novel. Exploring more in depth into the Potters’ past was so awesome to get into, no matter how deadly depressing the story is. Snape was extremely amusing to me in this book seeing as he truly was totally horrible, and was intent on making that immensely known to Harry. Losing his cool was entertaining, but he was cruel and horrible in this story. The Weasleys will always remain a fantastic family to me. This was definitely a  great entry to a phenomenal series.

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling

2 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #2

Harry Potter is a wizard – a young wizard living with his insufferable aunt, uncle and major bully cousin. But never fear – he will be returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry soon. If he doesn’t starve during the summer, that is. After an incident where a house elf named Dobby paid Harry a visit and begged him not to return to school, Harry is imprisoned by his relatives. The Ministry of Magic is convinced that Harry performed magic in front of the muggles, though it is not the case. However, his best friend Ron Weasley and his mischievous twin brothers Fred and George turn up in a flying car to rescue him, and Harry’s summer went from being the worst ever to one of the best ever. However, when Harry and Ron attempt to board the Hogwarts Express, they cannot get through the barrier. In the midst of their panic, they steal Mr Weasley’s Ford Anglia and fly to school, and end up in a ton of trouble. The glorious entrance that they envisioned is crushed by the car crash into the violent Whomping Willow. They are fortunate enough not to be expelled.

Soon all the students return to Hogwarts, and Harry is having a hard time with his celebrity status amongst some of the new students who have arrived, and it causes him immense frustration. As though that was not enough, their new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is famous, and convinced that he can help young Harry along the way to greatness. Strange things start to happen at Hogwarts, and Harry is grievously injured at a Quidditch match, which resulted in a broken arm due to a rogue Bludger in play. Naturally everyone assumes the worst. As though he does not have enough issues on his plate, he hears a cold, disembodied voice floating around the castle that nobody else seems to hear. Vicious attacks start within the grounds, resulting in some people being Petrified, and everyone is terrified. A warning tells them that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened, and that enemies of the Heir should be wary.

Harry, Ron and their close friend Hermione Granger start to look into the attacks. They are desperate to find out more about the history of the Chamber of Secrets, and Harry needs it more than anyone. At a duelling club it was discovered that he is a Parselmouth, something that Hogwarts founder Salazar Slytherin was renowned for, and something that is considered to be a trait of a Dark Wizard. He can communicate with snakes. Harry is right up at the top of everyone’s suspect list, and his innocence is not looking very good. Harry becomes immensely unpopular and avoided. The three are intent that if they could just speak to Harry’s nemesis Draco Malfoy, they would be able to figure out in an instant who the heir of Slytherin is, and who opened the Chamber fifty years ago. However, the answers that they uncover might not be the ones that they are looking for. The attacks increase and intensify, and terror grips the castle and all its inhabitants, no one is safe. What will they do if Lucius Malfoy is pushing for the removal of the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore? He is their keeper, he maintains their safety.

Will the three be able to figure out just exactly what is going on within Hogwarts, and what the dreaded monster is that has been unleashed from within the bowels of an undiscovered Chamber? What will happen if Albus Dumbledore is removed from Hogwarts? Will anyone be safe? Harry has never been more desperate to figure out what is going on, but what will he do once he uncovers the truth?

GRADE 8.5It was definitely a fantastic sequel to its successful predecessor. This book had a lovely story, again, and you learn more about the magical world with each and every endeavour you take to explore it more. Fred and George Weasley provided a great deal of humour when dealing with Harry’s heir of Slytherin rumours, and this book had plenty to make you smile. Dumbledore was again so mysterious, and I thought Harry’s and Ron’s arrival at the school was not nearly as dashing as they were holding out for. That Ford Anglia going wild in the Forest was also terribly amusing. Good timing, too. All the magical elements of this world are amazing, and I must be honest when I say that we do not have things like Howlers. I thought it was really well done how J.K. Rowling brought in discrimination like she did (Mudbloods and pure-bloods), it makes that world almost a little more… real. The entire concept of preserving oneself in a diary was also great, and Lord Voldemort’s name was also good, to see how he evolved, where he came from and a little bit of who he was before the total rise to the Dark Lord was good. I thought this was a fun book, entertaining, though it also had some body to it, what with the issues that were dealt with due to supposition and silly things like rumours.

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

1 - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Adult's Cover

Harry Potter #1

Harry Potter is a young orphan who was dropped with his wretched family, the Dursleys, when he was a year old.  Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon hate Harry to death, and their son, Dudley, is a world class and seriously overweight bully. Harry dreams of escaping. Many strange things have happened to and around Harry over the years, completely inexplicable things, but odd nonetheless. Just before Harry’s eleventh birthday, he begins to receive letters addressed to him, right down to his living space under the stairs. These letters send his aunt and uncle into hysterics, and they refuse to let Harry read a single one. When the letters do not cease, but if anything, become more consistent, the Dursleys take him and run. He is discovered on their useless little island by Rubeus Hagrid, a massive giant of a man who hand delivers Harry’s letter to him himself. Harry is a wizard, set to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry sets off to start a new life in a new world with a whole new culture, and it is still a shock to his system. He meets a whole underground community of witches and wizards, and finds that he is somewhat of a celebrity. When Harry was a year old, Lord Voldemort entered his parents’ home to exterminate them, and when he turned to kill Harry, the curse rebounded on him, and he died. The reign of terror ended with his demise, and Harry is largely to thank for that. Harry needs to adapt, and is surprised and pleased all the time. On the Hogwarts Express, the school train, he meets his best friend, Ronald Weasley, and instantly finds his ultimate nemesis, Draco Malfoy.

Harry becomes a part of Gryffindor House, and is jubilant to not have fallen in with Slytherin, a house which turned out the most evil witches and wizards. The adventures keep coming when Harry is chosen for the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and he is elated, especially after receiving the superior Nimbus Two Thousand broomstick. No longer is Harry a nobody and someone to be bullied – in the magical realm, he is a hero. Their first year at Hogwarts will be filled with action and adventure. The students are informed that the third floor is off limits, and then start to notice very strange things – suspicious things are starting to happen at Hogwarts. Gringotts, the Wizarding Bank, was robbed the day Harry met his fortune in the bowels of it, and their Potions teacher, Professor Severus Snape, happens to have a dark past.

Whilst investigating a troll break-in, Harry and Ron need to rescue Hermione Granger, a know-it-all that they were not getting along with. After her rescue, the three become great friends. Snape is definitely up to something, and something is hidden within Hogwarts that is guarded by a massive three-headed dog named Fluffy, though what that may be, they do not know. Albus Dumbledore is an enigma, and he is there for Harry throughout – he rapidly becomes Harry’s mentor, and a man he respects immensely. As though the three did not have enough to worry about, Hagrid suddenly has a dragon that he won off of a stranger in a pub, whom he shared sensitive information with. Harry knows instinctively that Snape is going to make a play for whatever is hidden within the castle – he has all that he requires, and just needs to break the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirinus Quirrell, and then he will have all the answers.

Will the three friends figure out soon enough what is hidden within the school and find out why Snape wants it so desperately? What with slain unicorns in the Forbidden Forest and whispers of an elixir of life hidden deep within the walls, is someone attempting to assist the Dark Lord back into his former place of power? Will Quirrell be able to stand up to Snape?

GRADE 8This was such a massive part of my childhood. I have read this book so many times I almost know it word for word! This was fantastic for me. It was my adventure, my escape from reality, and it was a phenomenal one! J.K. Rowling knew what she was on about, and knew how to present it. The greatest thing about Potter is it is absolutely not reserved only for kids. Anyone can read it, and anyone can enjoy it (adults might battle a little bit through the first three, though, but after that – you are home free). The Invisibility Cloak that Dumbledore gave Harry was great, as it is such a big thing to do with so many things that are happening in the book as well as future stories. The story is tight, well written and wonderfully paced. The characters are excellent, the humour that Fred and George Weasley bring to the table is unforgettable, and the magical world that is laid out at your feet is breath-taking. Overall, the Potter series is one of my all time favourites, and there is not a single bad entry to it.

Review: Harry Potter Adult Edition Box Set (Paperback)

WHOOP WHOOP! Oh, my jubilation at the arrival of my box set! I have been saving for so long to buy back a part of my childhood, although I could not get it to what I wanted it one hundred percent. I saved up to buy all the Harry Potter books again. At a stage of my life I used to have all the books: original cover art, first edition prints, the whole shebang. That was a long time ago. I am going to let you know what I think of the set, but we warned, it will be image-rich, I want to be thorough!

I really wish that I could have gotten the original cover art in the box set, but they discontinued that specific box set (paperback) in 2010 already. So I had to take the next best thing (it looked pretty awesome considering), and that was the Harry Potter Adult Edition Box Set (Paperback). What a glorious set! Wow! I am going to sound like I lack a vocabulary, but just wow, it is phenomenal!

The box is a very sturdy construction, very glossy and printed in a mostly minimal design, but not bland. There are gold stars scattered all over the box, and I made damn sure that I got a bona fide set of proper English (UK edition) books, with all the correct spelling, and a Philosopher’s Stone, not a Sorcerer’s Stone. The top is emblazoned with The Complete Harry Potter Collection in gold over a dark (almost black) box, with all the gold stars. The edges of the box are stunning what with the gold edging that appears to make it look like a chest. The front panel has Slytherin’s locket branded onto it.

The left hand side of the box features the Philosopher’s Stone, and the imagery is rather rich, what with the reds and gold. PS: There are no lines on the side of the box, that is just my flash.

The right hand side of the box has the Goblet of Fire on it, and the blue flames are beautifully offset with the darkness that surrounds it. PS: There are no lines on the side of the box, that is just my flash.

The back of the box set prominently displays Azkaban, the wizarding prison, in all its stark glory.

The books themselves feel very well put together, and the covers are very glossy, but, quite surprisingly, do not retain fingerprints as quickly as one would assume. Each cover features something from the stories, and that image is majorly down-scaled to fit onto the spine of the book, too, to demarcate it further than just the name. The books, even the bigger ones, are very comfortable in the hands.

The pages are lovely, not too thick or too thin, and the text itself is legible, clear, and well sized. There is a nice weight to them. They are a joy to read.

The box set opens nicely, and there is ample space for the books to slot into, and they are not difficult to remove. There is a total of 3407 pages of fantastic story to consume in this box set, and each one completely worth it.

I am so thrilled with my purchase, I feel like a little kid again, and it is awesome! I know I finished reading the books about a month back, but I have a sneaky suspicion I am going to have to christen these, and soon! These are really great to have, and a box set of the books are just brilliant, it looks very cool, too. I am supremely overjoyed with my purchase!

Whether you already own the books or not, a box set is so great to have (I am not being biased just because I like box set!), and this set comes in highly recommended!