Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Themes

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Themes

The Downside of Fame

Harry Potter has been famous since the circumstances of his parents’ death. Such fame has always been a dual-edge sword, but in this installment, the price of fame is really starting to get at him. When his name comes out of that goblet of fire, it is too much for those who have already allowed their simmering envy and jealousy to be contained. Harry becomes a target of increasing negatively and even bullying by his schoolmates. But that’s nothing compared to the dreadful taste of the seamy underbelly of fame that awaits him in the form of the doppelganger most responsible for that fame.

Cooperation v. Competition

The entire framework of the narrative of this Harry Potter novel is about competition. The competitive games are the centerpiece of the plot and the positioning for a competitive advantage and strategic jockeying among opponents set the stage for the drama which doesn’t take place within the gaming structure. The real lesson that Harry gains from being forced to take part, however, is the advantage that comes with cooperation. Hagrid, Moody, Dobby, and even Cedric are all instrumental in guiding Harry through the tournament. Even Voldemort’s wand cooperates when he most needs it.

Intolerance and Oppression

Like most oppressive groups within a society that rise to power, the Death Eaters are defined as much by who they aren’t as who they are; much is learned about the prejudices and bigotry of Voldemort’s follows in The Goblet of Fire. They are a race based on purity of strain, of course, so therefore Mudbloods are definitely out. That focus on blood inevitably leads to hierarchical category of superiority, which explains their contempt for the giant-side of Hagrid’s genetics. No one of proven superior blood could possibly fail to thrive within the wizarding world economic to the degree that the Weasley family has, so clearly anyone of their ilk will not last long among Death Eaters.

Fear

Overcoming fear is a recurring motif that runs throughout the entire series of the Harry Potter books, but it begins to transform from a theme associated with adolescence and maturation into one with more expansive political dimensions in Goblet of Fire. While the teenage fears of the unknown are still very much on display in Harry’s marshmallow legs during the tournament, the thematic centerpiece of this adventure is the fear that Voldemort and his Death Eaters are capable of engineering and the power that fear gives. The connective tissue in this theme is the one linking the cowardly Fudge and his stubborn refusal even to admit the possibility of Voldemort’s return to Harry’s heroic rejection of fear in his interrogation by Voldemort.

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