Nitpicking Harry Potter (aka re-reading it as an adult)
Goblet of Fire: the plotholes, the discrepancies, and the inevitable, irreversible signs of growing up.
How do you keep reading a chapter when you know how painful the end is going to be?
How do you not cry at the jokes a character makes when you know that by the time you’re done with the book, he will be dead, discarded in a second, as if a particularly irritating pest?
How do you cheer and whoop with the crowd when you watch a task being performed in front of them, and not feel your eyes fill with tears as your heart is clutched by the icy fist of the knowledge that the outcome isn’t going to be as cheery or festive as they hope? Rather, it would be something that would change their reality and turn their world upside down, only if they have courage enough to believe the truth.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the turning point in the series. It is the book where JK Rowling stops being a children’s writer and turns into a YA author. This book is where the darkness, the severity of the threat looming over Harry’s world starts to make its presence felt. There is no more fun and games, no more times when getting expelled was the worst the children could fear.
There is death in this book — the raw, stark finality of it. There is jealousy between friends. There are the first signs of blossoming young love. There is the beginning of teenage angst, of depression, of infatuation.
There is a distinct taste that yes, the characters, along with the readers, have left behind all traces of innocence and have indeed grown up.
That being said, let us look at a few GLARING plot-holes, shall we?
- The Ministry of Magic has been working overtime to hide the existence of Quidditch World Cup from the Muggles. Then why the hell would they hold it in a Muggle campsite? Do wizards not go camping?
2. There is dark wizard activity after the World Cup is over. Everyone can’t seem to stop raving about how wrong the entire incident was, about how cruel it was to the Muggles.
But isn’t what the Ministry is doing cruel enough?
The person in charge of the campsite is a Muggle. He gets suspicious because the wizards dress flamboyantly (a kilt and a poncho, seriously? How hard is it to wear jeans and a jumper like Mr. Weasley does?) and are unable to handle Muggle money (I have been to foreign countries. Handling money isn’t difficult at all — all you’ve got to do is count the numbers printed on the notes. Wizards are DUMB, duh.). The Ministry has to send an Obliviator to wipe his memory while Mr. Weasley is paying him.
Honestly, if the poor Muggle had to have his brain wiped clean every time he gets suspicious, the poor man would be left with nothing but jelly in his head by the time the whole fiasco is over.
3. Omnioculars, which can replay Quidditch matches, are a pretty handy invention, don’t you think? Imagine the trouble it would solve the Ministry of Magic if they were to take a pair of these to a crime scene and just watch what happened before they arrived to know who the criminal was!
4. When you hype up the Triwizard Tournament as being an important step in international magical cooperation, surely, you can have a real panel of impartial judges, rather than the heads of the participating schools and two members of the local government?
If each head favours their own student, still, the Hogwarts champion has an advantage because the local government employees (Ludo Bagman, I am looking at you) would surely favour the Hogwarts champion.
5. How does Peter Pettigrew slice off his hand with a silver knife? Can a knife cut through bone, that too in a single motion?
6. After Voldemort returned, how was Harry able to escape by touching the Portkey? Is that how Portkeys work? We saw the ones Mr. Weasley and the kids went to QWC with being discarded after one-way-transportation (the people handling them didn’t get transported back — which means they stop working once they have been used). Also, if two-way transportation WAS a thing, why had the fake Moody enchanted it so that someone could travel back? Wasn’t it supposed to be a mission that ended in Harry’s death? Sounds rather contrived, if you ask me.
7. The existence (and potency) of Veritaserum totally rules out the need for trials right?
“You are accused of murder — drink this.”
“I swear I didn’t — oh well, I killed him.”
There, the job is done! Also, if Veritaserum is so heavily regulated, how come Snape has it? It’s the Muggle equivalent of a high-school chemistry teacher possessing a chemical weapon.
8. Impostor Moody/Barty Crouch Jr tells Harry-
I told you, Harry…I told you. If there’s one thing I hate more than any other, it’s a Death Eater who walked free. They turned their backs on my master when he needed them most. I expected him to punish them. I expected him to torture them.
We saw Crouch Jr.’s trial in Dumbledore’s pensieve. He had denounced Voldemort in public and had sworn repeatedly that he was innocent and pleaded with his father to spare him. Is that not turning his back on his master? That’s not the mark of a zealot (like Bellatrix Lestrange who sat on the chained chair as if it were a throne), rather, the signs of an opportunistic and cowardly man who puts his wand where he believes he will be safe, much like Wormtail.
What gives him the right to judge other Death-Eaters for wanting to be safe?
9. If Fudge refused to believe Harry’s story, how would he explain Harry’s disappearance and Cedric’s death anyway. Yes, he can claim Harry is unhinged all he wants, but surely, he can’t claim Harry murdered Cedric, right?
We remember Impostor-Moody telling the class that fourteen-year-olds can’t kill.
Avada Kedavra’s a curse that needs a powerful bit of magic behind it — you could all get your wands out now and point them at me and say the words, and I doubt I’d get so much as a nose-bleed.
How would Fudge explain Cedric’s death to the wizarding world?
10. After the term ends and the children are about to board the Hogwarts carriage, there’s this line-
Hermione turned away, smiling at the horseless carriages which were now trundling towards them up the drive, as Krum, looking surprised, but gratified, signed a fragment of parchment for Ron.
See — horseless?
The carriages are pulled by Thestrals that one is supposed to see after one has witnessed death first-hand. Harry just saw Cedric killed off right in front of his eyes. Why hadn’t he seen the Thestralsa at the end of fourth year and only at the beginning of the fifth? Is there a time-lag between witnessing death and being able to see Thestrals?
11. Also, one MAJOR nitpick — if all Death Eaters have the Dark Mark tattoed on their arms, why did the Ministry of Magic not check the arms of each and every employee before they entered the Ministry premises or something like that?
Sure, they all wear robes, but how difficult is it to ask everyone to roll up their sleeves as a preliminary security measure?
Yeah, it sounds like I have a LOT of complaints, but trust me, this was a fun read.
Because this is a Harry Potter book (and anyone who knows me knows I am highly biased towards them), I cannot NOT give it a full 5/5. However, if this was something written by another author which I had first read after having had considerable exposure to YA fantasy, I wonder what rating I would have given, or how my review might have differed.