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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire cover Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

Published by Scholastic Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Things are even worse at number four, Privet Drive, if that can actually be possible. Harry Potter's spoiled bully of a cousin, Dudley Dursley, is on a diet. Accustomed to satisfying his greed without restraint, Dudley hates being restricted to "rabbit food." His temper is becoming even worse, if that could be possible. All Harry can do is try to stay out of trouble until the new term begins at Hogwarts, the magical school. At least he now has a protector, his wizard godfather, but Sirius Black is still in hiding while he gets his name cleared of thirteen murders he didn't commit.

However, rescue comes from an unexpected corner when his wizarding friends the Weasleys arrive via Floo Powder to take him off to the World Quiddich Cup. But things aren't over, even when Harry returns to Hogwarts for his fourth term. He won't be playing Quiddich this year, but he has a chance to be a player in an elaborate magical challenge with two other wizarding schools.

Harry's not supposed to even be eligible for this competition, which is restricted to students over the age of seventeen because of the difficulty and possible danger. But someone has put his name in as a candidate, and when he is selected by the magical Goblet of Fire, he must compete. However, there is evidence that the person who put his name in for him is no friend of his.

At the same time, Harry must deal with a new enemy -- trash journalism. The paparazzi are represented by Rita Skeeter, whose Quick Quote Quill doesn't always stick to the facts very well, particularly when careless writing can make a drab story more sensational.

Rowling continues to surprise her readers, with characters whose allegiances are often not what they seem. As Sirius Black proved to be anything but the villain everyone thought him to be in Prisoner of Azkaban, this volume features an "innocent" whose hands may not be nearly so clean as his tender years might have indicated. Even people who seem to be helping Harry are not necessarily working to his long term benefit.

Previous volumes had held some hints of darkness, with even the good acts of the protagonists sometimes having bittersweet consequences. However, those generally happened out of site and were only discussed by the principal characters. This time death will come much closer, right on camera, as it were.

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Review posted October 5, 2000

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