CM . . . .
Volume VII Number 1 . . . . September 8, 2000
The four of them left Ron's room and went back downstairs, to find Mrs. Weasley alone in the kitchen, looking extremely bad-tempered. "We're eating out in the garden," she said when they came in. "There's just not room for eleven people in here. Could you take the plates outside, girls? Bill and Charlie are setting up the tables. Knives and forks, please, you two," she said to Ron and Harry, pointing her wand a little more vigorously than she had intended at a pile of potatoes in the sink, which shot out of their skins so fast that they ricocheted off the walls and ceilings.Like the Lone Ranger, Harry Potter rides again. In other books in the series, Rowling has been careful - perhaps overcareful - in setting the scene for the story, making sure, for example, that the reader really appreciates just how dreadful it is for Harry living with those awful Muggles relatives. In Harry Potter #4, we are dumped right into the 'raison d'etre' of the entire plot - the first chapter hardly mentions Harry Potter! For older readers, this is a plus; they like being "in the know" ahead of the protagonists. For the younger set, all this stuff about people being frightened to death, even when they learn at the end of Chapter 1 that it was Voldemart's doing, is a bit boring. They want action, with Harry Potter at its centre.
One thing about this series of books, however, is that not only does it get kids reading; it keeps them reading! Even eight- to ten-year-olds seem to persevere, and their reward is lots of action and lots of Harry, Ron and Hermione. The goblet of fire in the title is the agent by which the champions are chosen, one from each of the three main schools for wizards in the world, to compete for the Triwizard Cup. This is a competition in three tasks, each to be accomplished in front of spectators and judges. The names of the competitors from Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang are spat from the goblet, and then, just as the congratulations begin to fly, Harry's name shoots out as a fourth competitor. No one understands how this could have happened, but the goblet has spoken, and so the list stands.
Harry has the strong feeling that someone is out to kill him and that these trials are going to be the method by which his destruction will be accomplished. He is, of course, right. The someone - once again, of course, - fails, but the attempts and the failures make a wonderful story. No disappointment here for the fans, including me, who have been waiting for this book since we finished the previous one. What's more, the re-embodiment of Voldemart and his calling together of the forces of evil give a direction to the development of the story in future books.
Have they a launch date yet for #5?
Mary Thomas works in two elementary schools in Winnipeg, MB, and hates book reviews that give away too much of the plot.
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