Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: 20 Years Later, What We Learned
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, and arguably the most important. It’s also one of the darkest. In addition to featuring an abundance of death and destruction, The Goblet of Fire has some pretty surprising revelations. After reading it for the first time when I was about ten years old, these details have stuck with me for almost two decades. Here are some of my favorite things that we learned from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire:
Hagrid is a half-giant
This is one of the most important reveals in the book, and it really changes our understanding of Hagrid’s character. Harry has assumed that this is because Hagrid is a giant, but in Goblet of Fire we learn that Hagrid’s parents were also giants, so he’s a half-giant. This explains why he’s so much larger than other people. This also explains why he’s so sensitive to insults about his size. Most of the time, Hagrid has to put up with other people making disparaging comments about his appearance.
Voldemort has no business being in charge of anything
Throughout the entire Harry Potter series, Voldemort is almost always portrayed as a serious and formidable threat to the wizarding world. He’s a great example of how power and influence shouldn’t be given to the wrong people. As readers, we know that Voldemort is a very intelligent, powerful, and charismatic person, but in Goblet of Fire we get a look into his mind, and we see that he’s actually fairly unbalanced. His thoughts are filled with visions of past glories, and he gets very frustrated when he can’t control everything around him. Harry even hears his thoughts once when they’re speaking Parseltongue, and they’re basically just a bunch of self-loathing and anger.
Harry can speak Parseltongue, but only when he’s angry
This is a really bizarre revelation, but we learn that Harry can speak to snakes when he’s angry. This is because his ability to use Parseltongue is related to Voldemort, who can also speak to snakes. When Voldemort was younger, he had a magical connection to a snake named Slytherin’s Basilisk, which lived in the Chamber of Secrets. After he killed the Basilisk, he saved its fang, which he turned into a wand core. This means that every time Harry uses a wand, he’s also using a little piece of Voldemort.
Quidditch gets darker and darker
As the series progresses, Quidditch becomes a much more dangerous sport, prompting the introduction of more safety precautions. In Goblet of Fire, Quidditch gets its darkest chapter yet when the Wigtown Wanderers’ Beaters use Bludgers with sharp, iron spikes. Although the Beaters claim that this is an accident, the public assumes that they did it on purpose. In response, the International Association of Quidditch bans the use of iron Bludgers. This is a very important development in the series, as it shows how serious the ministry is about controlling the outcomes of sporting events, even if it means adjusting the rules to suit the government.
Hermione learns the devastating art of casting curses
As a child, Hermione is a muggle-born witch who excels at pretty much every school subject, but she struggles with the Dark Arts. When she finally gets her chance to learn about curses and hexes, she masters them and even comes up with a few of her own. This is an important detail because it shows how Hermione has grown throughout her time at Hogwarts. As a child, she was reliant on her intelligence and tenacity, but now, as a young woman, she has become more independent, confident, and aggressive.
And most importantly: prejudice is bad, m’kay?
One of the most impactful themes in Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire is the importance of not prejudging people based on their appearance or background. Most wizards are quick to judge muggles based on the fact that they don’t have magic, but they don’t realize that they have a lot to learn from them. At the same time, many muggles are quick to judge wizards, but they don’t realize that they can learn a lot from them as well. As with most things in life, the best way to combat prejudice is with knowledge and understanding. If everyone is willing to learn a bit more about each other, they’re sure to discover that they have a lot in common.