As always thank you Alice for hosting this readalong shindig. And thar be spoilers, so you've been warned.
Goblet of Fire. The first book that's split into four books instead of two because there's SO MUCH to go through. However this isn't really my favorite book. It's not lower than CoS but it's around there. Again, this doesn't mean it's a BAD book. This is all relative to the other books in the series. Also I don't remember books 6 or 7 all that well, so I could be wrong.
The opening chapter and we break away from Harry's point of view. I don't know how I feel about this. On the one hand, we can't know what's happening with Voldie unless Harry sees it and we need to know what he's up to. But I like sticking to Harry's point of view. I know Rowling sort of gets away with this by having the opening chapter also be Harry's dream, but that doesn't really work for me. It feels like a cheat.
However I LOVE the first chapter directly from Harry's point of view (aka Chapter 2), when his scar hurts and he decides to turn to Sirius for help. Because Harry needs a parent. And I'm still thinking of Jenny's defense of Sirius because it is so good and this opening just serves to prove how much Harry needs a parent. Even he says it. "What he really wanted (and it felt almost shameful to admit it to himself) was someone like -- someone like a parent: an adult wizard whose advice he could ask without feeling stupid, someone who cared about him." Then my heart breaks again for him and I want to give him big hugs.
I love the scenes before the Quidditch World Cup (which like the student games I'm sort of meh on) when Harry, Ron, and Hermione are wandering around the grounds and seeing all of the witches and wizards from around the world. There's also evidence in this section that Hogwarts is the only wizarding school in the UK, since they make a point of saying that the teens they don't recognize go to schools in other countries, rather than them being students at other UK schools. I did like the little nod to the American witches being from Salem. Cute.
Do you think all those memory charms are going to screw with Mr. Roberts? I feel bad for the guy. I know Mr. Weasley says any ill effects don't last long, but still. Seems like the sort of thing that should be used sparingly, given we saw what happened to Gildaroy Lockhart when the spell is performed too strongly? Not to say anyone's going to do that to the Muggles, but just that there are possible bad side effects to this spell.
Poor Winky. First she has to go up to the top box even though she's terrified of heights. Then she's blamed for the dark mark that's sent out AND she's fired. Except I guess for house elves it's more than fired? It's not like she can just put out an ad and find another family, right?
Also question, Harry says that his wand fell out of his pocket, right? (Or there is at least references to wands being in pockets at some point in the series.) But wants are pretty long right? Sometimes over a foot. What pockets are they using? I now like to picture Harry with JNCO jeans that have those GIANT pockets, of course then he couldn't really run. Nevermind, they're probably magic pockets.
The prank pulled on the Roberts is really terrifying, especially when you consider the two children. I don't know why it hit me that it's really a cruel and scary thing to do this time around when other times I sort of glossed over it. This time I paid more attention to it. Maybe because I listened to that part on audiobook.
Oh yeah, I've been doing about 1/2 of the books on audiobook and the other 1/2 reading. This way I a) don't need to bring giant books on the subway with me and b) when I finish up the section we're supposed to read to, I can turn off the audiobook and switch to whatever other book I'm reading. Hence my thoughts on audiobooks earlier.
Hermione makes a very good point about house elves being slave labor. That doesn't not however make her less insufferable or make Ron any less correct when he says Hermione starts eating again because she's hungry more than she's figured other ways to show her house elf solidarity.
Hagrid, I want to love you as a professor. I do. But blast-ended skrewts? No thank you.
"'Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavender?' said Ron" Hooray for them acting like teenagers and making stupid jokes like this. (Also, while typing this I have the TV on and the people are in Beaver, PA. And once again, I laughed and laughed.)
I am excited to continue on! The Tri-Wizard Tournament! The other wizarding schools! Mad-Eye! EXCITEMENT! Until next week
*This doesn't come up in this book,** but to build off of the number of students at Hogwarts, because apparently I'm ALL ABOUT numbers in Harry Potter, here's some more evidence for small classes:
20 broomsticks waiting for Griffs & Slyths at their first flying lesson
20 cauldrons had been set up in double potions
20 earmuffs set out in Herbology for the mandrakes lesson
How Many Students Are At Hogwarts
**Clearly, I can't let this go. Also I found this while trying to find stuff about the age of the Weasley kids.
Title quote from page 206
Rowling, JK. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Scholastic, 2000.