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|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire|
by J.K. Rowling
Bloomsbury Publishing, plc, 2000
Amazon.co.uk: hardcover, paperback, large print, audio CD, audio cassette
Amazon.ca: hardcover, paperback, audio CD, audio cassette
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Recommended by: Greg Slade
It may be a bit premature to put the Harry Potter books into the category of "classics", but so many kids (and adults) are so enthusiastic about them that it's hard to imagine them gathering dust. I am up to book four now, and having read it, I can see why it's so much thicker than those before it. Rowling is raising the stakes here: so much so that we actually have a character die in this book. In the other books, we have references to characters having been killed in the past, but this is the first time where the death occurs, as it were, in front of the reader. In the same way, Harry has defeated Lord Voldemort on two separate occasions, but since Lord Voldemort keeps coming back, you can't really described those defeats as deaths. In this book, a regular character, and a nice person, is killed in the crossfire. I couldn't believe that Rowling would take such a risk, but she did. I think it's safe to say that this book is intended for an audience of Harry's age in the book (14) or older. I'm not sure that 11 year olds would be ready for it.
There is another way in which the books are getting more serious. In my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, I commented: "Probably the most glaring problem is that Harry and his friends seem to be developing a persistent tendency to regard rules as applying to everybody but themselves." That problem seemed, if anything, to get worse over the next two books. Now, Rowling may be beginning to address it. In this book, Harry is in a wizarding contest, and everybody and their dog seems to be anxious to help him cheat. At the end of the book, it turns out that those who seem so anxious to "help" Harry may not have his best interests at heart. Far from it.
Now, I just need to get my grubby mitts on book five before book six comes out. Like everybody else, I'm anxious to find out "what happens next."
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