Kath and Hanna Reread Harry Potter…and The Goblet of Fire

IMG_2790 So Hanna and I are now officially halfway through Harry Potter (in terms of book numbers, pages wise probably not.) If you need to catch up you can click through our previous conversations here, here, and here.

From: Kath – To: Hanna – July 16

I just got past the Death Eaters at the Quidditch World Cup, and I remember now why I don’t love 4 the way that others do. It is so scary! I was having flashbacks to actual nightmares I had at 14 while reading this. 
Not to say it’s not brilliant, because it is. And the description of the match itself was really cool (and not just because I’m obsessed with Ireland). But I don’t have warm fuzzy feelings towards the story, because I know this is just a precursor to the real terror at the end.

Not OK

From: Hanna – To: Kath – July 19
I’ve just met Fleur Delacour at Hogwarts, still pre-Goblet of Fire (it’s just struck me that this is kind of a lame title for Book 4…what do you think?).
It continues to be my favorite book so far, but you’re right – the Death Eaters scene is so so scary. I had forgotten the bit about levitating the Muggles – this scares me the most, not only because I’m a Muggle (!) but also because it really gets at the senselessness of the Death Eaters’ terrorism. 
This time around, I’m really liking Hermione’s pro-house elf activism. I know that this isn’t most people’s favorite part, but I appreciate witnessing her developing social consciousness. It’s a great foil for (let’s be real) Harry‘s self-centeredness. (I can’t help but think of PotterPuppet Pals here: “Harry Potter! That’s me!”)
On to the tri(quad)wizard tournament!
From: Kath – To: Hanna – July 20 

“Senselessness” is the exact right word for why it is so awful. I shudder whenever I think of that image of the Death Eaters laughing while the poor family is in the air. 

Onto much lighter notes – I also have been enjoying the House Elf activism, though I think I’m finding it funnier than I would have at 14. Her desperate passion probably wouldn’t have looked as far fetched then, though the name S.P.E.W. has always gotten me. 
I just got to the lead up to Yule Ball, and I love how much this book delves into the fact that they are silly teenagers much of the time. I get frustrated with the whole Ron insecurity story line in later books, but in this one, where they’re supposed to be 14, it’s totally understandable. As is the terror of asking someone to the dance. Brilliantly captured.
 From: Hanna -To: Kathryn – July 28

Just finished #4!  And oh my goodness…the graveyard scene is just as terrifying now as it ever was.  

I agree with you about Ron and his insecurities: justified and endearing here; totally frustrating later.  And speaking of being silly teenagers: can I say how annoying it is that Hermione* is Viktor’s “sorely missed” thing for the second task, and Cho is Cedric’s?  Really, guys?!  A love interest that you’ve known for a few months is your most prized “possession”?  I’m with Fleur and her little sister on this one.
Separately, I’d never noticed how often JK writes something along the lines of: “…and Harry ran back to Gryffindor to tell Hermione and Ron about everything that just happened to him.”  I’m thinking that some Seinfeld-esque shorthand is in order: “Harry left Dumbledore’s office, his head swimming with all of the important secrets that he had just learned. Yada yada yadaHarry, Ron, and Hermione stayed up late to plan their next move.” 
And a random thought: could Rita Skeeter be JK’s way of taking a shot at the media/paparazzi, whom I imagine were making her life quite unpleasant by this point? 
Now, on to Order of the Phoenix, everyone’s least favorite (right? I hope?) and the only book that I’ve read just once. Bring on the teenage angst!
*Google Chrome tried to auto-correct “Hermione” to “thermionic.” Wtf…get with pop culture, Google.
From: Kath – To: Hanna – July 28

Oh no, I’m so far behind! I was on vacation, but I will catch up in the next few days. 

On the Rita Skeeter note – yes! I totally think it’s a comment on celebrity media. I know JK was the one that got paparazzi photos of kids outlawed in Britain, which is awesome and definitely shows that she was thinking about that kind of leeching disguised as reporting.  (Also Rita Skeeter is such a great name.)
I agree Order is my least favorite at least. But I’m actually curious to see how I react to it this time. 
I’ll get back to you hopefully tomorrow or Thursday with my final thoughts on Goblet. (Which, I can’t remember if I responded to this before, but yeah you’re right lame title when there’s so many more interesting things happening in this one.)
From: Kath – To: Hanna – July 30 

OK I finished yesterday (during the slowest library shift ever). My final thoughts: 

– I was reading the part where Harry and Cedric decide to touch the cup at the same time on the bus and I almost started crying. The whole thing is just so unfair – and again I was reminded how affecting the violence in the whole series is. Rowling points out the way terrorism like the Death Eaters campaigns, feels so arbitrary. Obviously it’s scary but it’s more heartbreaking because it seems so meaningless and wasteful. I got really angry at these fictional assholes. Maybe that’s why this one has never been my favorite, because it makes me think about these things.  
– I remember this movie the least, and so the image of Voldemort getting his body back really struck me as being more twisted than I remembered. Is it included in the movie? 

Apparently it is…did I repress this?

– Also for some reason I thought the part where they connect wands was in the last book, so I got to be in suspense all over again about how Harry escapes. 
Overall I liked it, but still found it really disturbing. On to 5, maybe it will surprise us! 
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