Sunday, August 30, 2009
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Now, I'm cruising through these Harry Potter books for the first time, and I'm really quite enjoying them. I am fascinated by JK Rowling's ability to create a magical, fictional world with rules and characters and continuous plot development. It all makes sense and is extraordinarily interesting. I'm happy she's creating such a wonderful book series for adolescents and children!
I just finished the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and I was impressed. Her books seem to get better and better as the series continues, but this could be because she doesn't need to establish characters or history anymore. She can just pick up where they left off and use what she's already created. She obviously will throw in a new character or two in every book, like Mad Eye Moody, Rita Skeeter, Ludo Bagman, and the Crouch family. Understandable. I like that there are constant new characters and the old ones keep growing and changing.
I like that this book broke a little bit from the same formula that Rowling had been sticking to for the first three books: start trouble at the Dursleys, get rescued, go to school, discover a conflict including Harry Potter that he must figure out clues to defeat, play Quiddich, fight with Malfoy, fight "the boss" and win (with the help of others), and return to the Dursley's. Zzz after a while.
Thankfully, this book broke a LITTLE from that formula. They included the Quiddich World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament, two sporting events that broke the repetitiveness a bit. The book also started with a scene between Voldemort and Wormtail, which I thought was a better way to hook readers at the start of the book rather than always relying on Harry waking up at the Dursley's to their maltreatment. We got it. No surprose. Unfortunately, the fifth book starts off that way. It's just getting to me I guess! Spruce up the creativity!
The Goblet of Fire starts romance brewing as well. Cho is introduced, and Ron starts to have little bursts of I'm-a-boy-and-don't-know-how-to-show-or-understand-love with Hermione. There's a dance, and emotions run high. Even Hagrid has a love interest! Ooo baby. The other books can only bring more now that they're fifteen! Woa now.
The ending was pretty well done. I liked how Cedric and Harry really helped each other win the tournament. Cedric's character really goes down in history as a good man for his final effort during the last task. I couldn't believe Cedric was killed though! I didn't see that coming. Now Cho can focus more on Harry. Yikes. The final scene was pretty cool though--establishes Voldemort's character, his return, and his followers, the Death Eaters.
The only thing with the final scene that gets to me is that it seems that, in the next three books, they probably will have similar endings to this one. Voldemort will continue to take down Harry, but Harry will keep slipping away with his questionable power over him. He'll need to keep escaping until the last book where he finally destroys him. It seems kind of obvious, but if each ending is Harry vs. Voldemort and Harry keeps slipping away to take him on in the next book, it just will get a little old. I hope it isn't so cookie-cutter of a formula on endings.
And, Harry didn't really win the tournament! The whole last task was fudged because Krum and Fleur were charmed, and then Cedric and Harry "tied," but Harry won because he died? That's not really fair. I mean, I think we all thought he would win since he's the golden child, but it seems like Cedric actually won. The other two COULD have won but were charmed. I don't know. It didn't seem fair to me.
And why are they trying to make Fleur's character so big? Both on the cover of the book and on the cover of the movie, they make her character stand out when it was so small. I know she's attractive, but come on now. I'm not into that either. They're better than this!
But, I really enjoyed the fourth book and I'm a little way into the fifth book, which is starting out pretty good. But Harry has quite a temper! I know all fifteen-year-olds and teenage boys go through this phase, but somehow I thought Harry was better than that. But, I guess the point of the story is that he IS human...
Anyway. After every Harry Potter book, I watch the movie. I wanted to vent my frustrations with the movie. Man, it was so different from the book! So many details were left out, so many plot points were out of order, and some characters weren't even included! Ludo Bagman didn't even appear. Ginny had some headshots, but she wasn't central, so why include her character and not Bagman's? No Bill. No Charlie. And, the whole idea of Mad Eye Moody being the antagonist in the movie is easily pointed to. Instead of discovering it for ourselves at the end, the filmmaker drops clues throughout, pointing to him as the obvious choice. I didn't like that at all. It took away from the mystery of the story.
Other details were out of place or weren't mentioned which really took away from the story. The last task was all off. Harry and Cedric pretty much battled and fought inside the maze which didn't happen. If anything, they were helping each other to win which makes Cedric's character more honorable. In the way he was portrayed here, he was kind of a brat. I didn't like it at all. Also, the way that Harry discovers certain secrets about the tournament didn't happen the way they were portrayed. Harry discovered the dragons from following Hagrid before meeting Sirius--not in the movie. Dobby gave Harry the gillyweed--not Neville. Small things like that irritate me. They didn't even bother showing the Dursley's! Harry just wakes up at the Burrow. Arg. I know there's limited time, but some things can't be THAT fudged! Then make two movies or make it longer! We're here for a reason; at least portray it right!
I felt like the movie was on fast forward and all I could do was sit and rack my brain on all the details they were missing. I had a hard time enjoying it, but maybe I'm being too critical. I know the book has to be massively condensed to make it into a movie, but the sacrfices they choose are not good ones to choose. They didn't bring up the elf plotline with Hermione, but I think that one was a good choice. That plot line bores me.
Anyway, I'm done rambling about my problems with the film, but I hear great things about the fifth movie. Seeing as though the movies are getting worse and the books are getting better, I hope it's not true. The movies need to do the books justice! Meh.
So what do you think of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?