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Fifteen years ago today, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire came out in theaters. Though this adaptation of the fourth book in Rowling’s Harry Potter series is wonderful, there are times, in both the book and movie, where Harry tends to strike a nerve. Let’s face it, Harry may be the chosen one, but he’s not the brightest wizard of his age. Here is a list of the five times Harry grinds our gears in Goblet.
1. Harry doesn’t study
You would think that procrastination is Harry’s favorite sport, rather than Quidditch, with how passionately he attempts to avoid studying at all costs. He and Ron rely on Hermione far too much to pass their exams, and, while it is a normal teenage endeavor to fall back on the notes of your most studious friend, preparing for the Triwizard Tournament is an entirely different monster. The stakes of the game are to win or to invite injury, as well as defeat, and yet Harry evades investigating the ins and outs of a successful trial by fire (Goblet of Fire, that is) at every turn. Thank goodness for his invaluable luck, where help seems to fall in his lap by way of Hagrid spilling secrets, the loyalty of Cedric Diggory, and the effort of friends: Dobby (in the book) or Neville (in the movie).
2. Harry critiques everyone’s outfit at the Yule Ball
Okay, so he does this silently in his mind, and that’s much different from telling someone to their face how ghastly their ensemble is, but still we have a window into his thoughts. Harry laughs at Ron’s dress robes, refers to Hagrid’s suit as “hairy and horrible,” McGonagall’s tartan as “ugly,” and Malfoy’s cronies as “two moss covered boulders.” Granted, the last one is quite satisfying and these observations bring some humor to the text, but we’re still not used to seeing such a blunt critique from Harry’s point of view.
3. Harry has shallow reasons for rejecting dates
Harry did have one special girl on his mind (Cho Chang), and though she was eventually unavailable, all other females in Harry’s eyes were dimmed by her light. Three girls ultimately asked him to the ball, yet he rejected them all on the grounds that he didn’t know them and he was holding out hope for Cho. When an unidentified fifth year asked Harry to the yule ball, he turned her down with the simple explanation, “She was a foot taller than me. Imagine what I’d look like trying to dance with her.” According to harrypotterfandom.com, “Harry also described her as looking as though she might knock him out if he refused her invitation.” He does later, in his final desperation, attend the dance with Parvati Patel, though he treats her as nothing more than a ticket to gawk at Cho dancing with Cedric.
4. Harry Shares the trophy with cedric
This one is no fault of his own, but it’s still the most cringe-worthy and painful regardless. Harry was doing a good deed and being fair by sharing the trophy with Cedric, something more akin to that of Hufflepuff than Gryffindor. And for someone who almost attacked his competitor, to assist him at the end like this is making a complete one-eighty. However, if there was one moment that we wish Harry had been selfish, it’s this one. There was no reason for Cedric to be there with Voldemort, and had he not touched the goblet at the same moment as Harry, it’s unlikely that the graveyard scene would have gone differently. The only thing worse than a literary character’s death is a senseless one. Harry couldn’t have known that the goblet was a portkey, yet each time we watch Harry decide to be benevolent at the worst possible moment, the good and light part of our literary soul dies along with Cedric.
5. “Harry! DID YAH PUT YAH NAME IN DA GOBLET OF FIYAH?!”
Alright, this one’s just for fun, but how could I not broach the moment when Harry is verbally assaulted by Dumbledore about “putting his name in the Goblet of Fire?” Though this one isn’t on Harry by a long shot, it’s the single most excruciating grind-your-gears moment in the film, and it’s actually pretty hilarious how contradicting Dumbledore’s on-screen presence is from his “calm” inquiry of Harry in the novel.
There you have it! The five ways in which Harry grinds our gears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Now, you can celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of its premiere by diving into the movie once again, and procrastinating along with Harry throughout each of the Triwizard tasks!
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