I may have set my expectations far too high for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, deeming it to be one of the ‘lighter’ instalments in the series. I cannot express how much I looked forward to reading this and it ended up being a 2* read. I was so glad that it was over. The film was better. The two-stars I’ve given are for a small number of things that made the book just a teensy bit enjoyable: Harry and Ron predicting their grim fates for Divination homework, the brilliance that is Arthur Weasley and the majesty of Fleur Delacour who strangely reminds me of Amber from the current season of Love Island. *Jon voice:* she is my Queen.
1. ARTHUR WEASLEY & MINERVA MCGONAGALL V HAGRID
Both Arthur and Professor McGonagall are how I expect responsible and mature adults to behave. When Vernon Dursley was raging at the Weasley’s for their arrival in the most unexpected way at Number Four, Privet Drive, did Arthur Weasley attack Dudley? Did he fly off the handle at Vernon? The latter I would have understood, but, as you can see, I am still not over that oaf, Hagrid, attacking a defenceless 11-year-old child because he’s furious about Vernon insulting Dumbledore. No, my good gentleman, Arthur Weasley, kindly attempts to placate the Dursley’s and engage in co-operation with muggles. And when Impostor Mad-Eye Moody transforms Draco Malfoy into a ferret, what does my good gentlewoman, Minerva McGonagall, do? She promptly rebukes Moody. Just as a good, responsible and mature adult should do. *makes Sansa welcoming Daenerys to Winterfell eyes at Hagrid* Humph, 60-year-old man behaving like a 12-year-old Tracy Beaker.
Other than that, I have completely fallen for Arthur Weasley. I gushed about him after reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and now I am completely in love with him.
2. FLEUR DELACOUR & PERCY WEASLEY APPRECIATION CLUB
Percy receives a lot of unfair flak for being pompous and a ‘traitor.’ He was pompous, sure, traitor? Eh, debatable, we do see him after all arriving at Hogwarts to assist in the battle. I’m sure his pride and ambition got in the way of returning earlier, however, what matters most is that he does return and makes amends. There is absolutely no way I am directing resentment towards a character who demonstrates the ability to recognise his errors, admit them, apologise and make amends. What really stood out for me about Percy in GoF is that though he is one of the judges for the second task, he immediately abandons his seat once Ron emerges from the lake and won’t stop making sure that Ron is fine. It must have been a great honour for him to be a judge for the task as well, bear that in mind. Percy Weasley is underrated… and he’s my third favourite Weasley now after Arthur and Ron. Yes, I much prefer him to the twins and Ginny.
Fleur Delacour is haughty and has very high standards. I can understand why Hermione was annoyed, I’m sure I, too, would be annoyed if I overheard someone ridiculing the school that I was proud to attend. However, I… am also pretty up myself too, so I don’t really mind. I am in two minds regarding the character arc set out for Fleur Delacour by Rowling. Rowling has written this series in a time when simply being beautiful wasn’t enough, where women had to prove themselves for being beautiful, but, sadly, I think this trope will remain timeless.
It brought to mind the scene in The Office where Erin is screaming at Andy: “What else you got!?” You’re beautiful, huh? BuT aRe YoU nIcE, aRe YoU eVeN sMaRt, ThOuGh? Prove it to me! How very self-entitled of us to demand beautiful people to constantly jump through hoops to placate our lack of self-esteem, to make us feel better about ourselves. The burden of beauty is thrusted upon the beautiful by the less beautiful. If a beautiful woman is slightly rude, the first reference is made to her physical appearance.
Fleur became one of my favourite characters after rereading this book. She’s a Triwizard Champion, she’s multi-lingual, she’s humble and gracious when she loses, she goes after who she wants, she’s intelligent, and she’s beautiful. Fleur is that bitch.
3. RON & HERMIONE AT THE YULE BALL
Ron was a jerk to Hermione at the Yule Ball. Period. Classing this as emotional abuse as opposed to what it really is – insensitivity – is dangerous and isn’t a term to be lightly bandied about. There’s no denying that he behaved poorly, despicably, to Hermione. This was a special moment for Hermione: opening the Yule Ball and leading the dance, and Ron should have piped down. Despite this, I don’t believe he deserves the vilification he receives for his behaviour at the Yule Ball and its film counterpart exacerbates Ron and Hermione’s argument. In the film adaptation, Ron and Hermione’s argument ruins Hermione’s night and we, consequently, see Hermione crying. This doesn’t happen in the book. That would have been fine had Steve Kloves, writer, not completely whitewashed Hermione assaulting Ron in the Half-Blood Prince. Removing Ron’s more emotionally sensitive moments, reducing him to a comic relief figure, creating scenes to add a ‘much woe to Hermione’ flair, and whitewashing Hermione’s assault in the Half-Blood Prince (an act of toxic femininity in itelf) demonstrated both toxic masculinity and toxic femininity on the part of Steve Kloves.
What are your thoughts on the differences between the way Arthur Weasley and Hagrid interact with the Dursley’s and muggles in general? Is Percy Weasley underrated? Do we demand too much from characters and people who are beautiful? What do you think of Steve Kloves creating a scene where Hermione cries at the Yule Ball? Let me know in the comments!
Also, it’s nice to be blogging again and to be finally reviewing and discussing a book! Tune in for Part Two where I will be reversing my views on S.P.E.W. (yep, a girl will not stick to her argument if better reasoning has been presented) and discussing Harry and Ron’s fight.
– Sophia Ismaa
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