Reflecting on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Back in middle school, I disliked all sports, despite having a few good friends who joined the school’s volleyball and basketball team. Unlike my friends, they were built to be athletes, standing at 5’7 and 5’10 on the robust side, whereas I stood around 5’2 on the frail side at the time. Far from athletic, I often wonder why my best school friends associated with someone like me who was not at all sporty and who was often found daydreaming and doodling in her notebook during class. Surely, they would gain nothing from copying my homework unless they are asking for a bare minimum passing grade (I was behind in homework due to frequent absences). In fact, they didn’t even need to copy my homework because they had the brains. I suppose I was just someone they can trust. Someone who didn’t judge them when they started blabbering about their school crushes and who enjoyed a good laugh. After all, friendship is about trusting and helping each other out. Similarly, the same can be said about sports. It promotes trust and collaboration which then results in friendship. But what happens if you are the only one selected from your school to compete in the Triwizard Tournament because you stood above everyone at the school? Then it is no longer really about trust, collaboration, and friendly competition. I am surprised a “civil war” hasn’t broken out in Hogwarts. Oh wait, we see that in the 5th book. We definitely see some tension between two best friends in this book. Ron wasn’t so happy to see his best friend Harry chosen by the Goblet of Fire. For one, he didn’t meet the age criteria, and yet, he is talented enough to compete in the tournament. Obviously, jealousy can ruin a friendship, especially for someone who is often overshadowed by his brothers. Who wouldn’t want the glory and recognition for a change?

The book got political fast and I like how sports as a theme is incorporated into the politics in the magical world. It’s a great way to display the intensity behind sports which is supposed to promote healthy competition and build friendships among other magic schools (Hogwarts is not the only magic school) when in fact it masks the ugly hunger for power in the Witchcraft and Wizarding community. What I enjoyed about this book is how the author illustrates sports as an activity that is really no different from politics (perhaps, that’s just my interpretation). Sports like politics are about representing a group. It’s about leading and cooperating. It’s about winning and losing. It’s about coming on top to promote an idea or for a “good cause”. It made me understand why someone like Hagrid would root for Harry Potter because it gives people like him who are underrepresented and shunned by society a chance to shine:

Yeh know what I’d love, Harry? I’d love yeh to win, I really would. It’d show ’em all…yeh don’t have to be pureblood ter do it. Yeh don’t have ter be ashamed of what yeh are. It’d show ’em Dumbledore’s the one who’s got it righ,’ letting anyone in as long as they can do magic.

pg. 456

If I were to read Harry Potter in middle school, I’d be a fan of the franchise myself. However, it’s not really Harry Potter that I like. He’s an all-right protagonist. It’s actually Dumbledore that wins my affection from this series. In fact, he is the only wizard that Voldemort is afraid of. He stands for everything right and just, and honestly, being exposed to many pessimistic entertainment materials in the past couple of years, particularly video games with a nihilist mindset, it’s nice to read something for a change that has a lot of warmth. There is such thing as right and wrong, and there is such thing as genuine friendly cooperation and not this whole concept of eat or be eaten lone wolf crap. Lastly, the world is not all dark and gloomy and everyone is only out there to save themselves. Reflecting back on my middle school days, there’s no mystery why I disliked sports. All I saw was a fierce competition that did more harm than good. Luckily, I was no rival to my friends and perhaps it was a good thing that we didn’t step on each other feet. I mean, I’m surprised Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory are good sports about winning the cup together on top of the fact they both like the same girl, Cho Chang from Ravenclaw!

Anyway, the last few chapters were intense and emotional. I would be a liar if I didn’t shed some tears. I’m so eager to know what will happen next. Stay tuned for my thoughts on the 5th book: Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix. It’s getting really intense! Will the house-elves learn to know what freedom is? Are they genuinely happy to serve or do they serve out of fear for their masters? And what is freedom? Why is the Death Eaters so evil and why do they hate Mudblood so much? What’s going to happen to Hogwarts if Dumbledore is no longer headmaster? So many questions.

If you are new to the blog, please check out my blog post for the previous three books to follow the discussion. Hope to see you again and thank you for reading!