This novel begins with a darker tone than the previous novels. Goblet of Fire is the first novel that does not open with Harry Potter on Private Drive. It begins in old house with Voldemort, Wormtail, and Barry Crouch Jr (his identity is not known until later in the novel). At the old house the Muggle caretaker is killed, using the killing curse. Harry does not initially understand the significance of this dream/vision. Later in the novel, when he sees Mr. Crouch and his son in Professor Dumbledore’s pensive he begins to understand it’s significance.
Then the book goes to a familiar setting, Harry at the Dursleys. Harry and the Dursleys both receive letters stating that Mr. Weasley will be coming to get Harry for the Quidditch World Cup. Unfortunately, Arthur, Fred, George and Ron arrive via the Floo Network and the Dursleys have had their fireplace boarded up. Arthur blasts the wood out of the way and promises to fix it when the boys leave.
Once they arrive at the Burrow everyone begins preparing to leave for the World Cup. They leave early in the morning to travel via portkey. During the match Harry’s wand goes missing. It is later found with a house-elf under the Dark Mark. At the end of the novel it is revealed that Barty Crouch Jr. was the one who made the Dark Mark not Winky, Mr. Crouch’s house-elf who was supposed to be watching Mr. Crouch’s son. Since this is not known at the time, when Harry’s wand is discovered Mr. Crouch initially accuses Harry much to the shock of the other Ministry Members. When he sees Winky, he knows and conceals the situation by dismissing her.
After returning to Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore announces they will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament. The Tournament has not been held for decades, and is being held now to demonstrate that the wizarding community has moved on from the dark times (Voldemort’s first regime) back to a time of relative normalcy. The Ministry of Magic sets new rules, restricting participation to students who are of age and ensuring that no student is in mortal danger. This is ironic because one Champion will be killed by Voldemort at the end of the tournament.
Throughout the tournament Harry is aided, without his knowledge, by the imposter Moody (Barty Crouch Jr.). Mr. Crouch, by concealing the fact that he smuggled his son out of Azkaban and covered up him casting the Dark Mark, he set the path for Voldemort’s return. It was his actions that eventually lead to Barty Crouch Jr. reuniting with Voldemort and assisting in his rebirth.