Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Apples to Oranges
Happy Holidays! Merry Holidays! Merry Christmas! Wishing you happiness in whatever fashion you celebrate the holiday season. Or for those who don’t celebrate the holidays, a good December to you.
This month I wanted to select a story that included scenes that happen in December to share in their holiday experiences. As I have been on a Harry Potter roll for the last several blog posts, I was delighted that the Goblet of Fire showed readers how wizards at Hogwarts celebrated their festivities with the Fire Yull Ball. Seeing this event through Harry’s perspective was magical as Ron endured an epic wardrobe disaster and Hermione became the belle of the ball. It’s one of the many reasons why Goblet of Fire is my favorite book in this series. Both the 2000 novel by JK Rowling and the 2005 Warner Brothers movie were spectacular.
Which version did I enjoy the most? Drum roll please… the book!
I must admit that I saw the movie first and it tainted my opinions. In GOF Harry, Ron, and Hermione begin flirtations with the opposite sex as Harry crushes on Cho Chang, Hermione goes on a date with the legendary Victor Krum which leads to Ron’s extreme jealousy. Readers realize that they are developing feelings for each other even though they are oblivious. The movie plays upon viewers’ nostalgia about young love and it worked. The characters were just so darn cute.
But I should have guessed that JR Rowling would explore these romantic feelings with hidden depth and clever feminism. In the movie, they hinted to a sweet love triangle between Victor, Hermione, and Ron while throwing Harry into the mix with a false newspaper article. In the book, Rita Skeeter, Gossip Correspondent for the Daily Prophet, uses the press to try to devalue Hermoine’s character and publicly shame her by implying she had many and simultaneous romantic relationships. Hermoine handled this by walking with her head high even though the school’s mean girls gossiped behind her back and she received cursed hate mail from Daily Prophet readers. Ultimately she got her Cinderella experience at the ball and revenge against the eavesdropping Rita. This was a very powerful message to send to young girls that they can go on dates and still be the valedictorian.
The Fire Yull Ball was not a good experience for Ron and it had nothing to do with his outfit. He made a fool of himself to two very different women. JK Rowling also used a comparison with Ron to show the difference between love and lust. Ron lusted after Fleur Delacour because of her physical beauty and her Veela heritage and stumbled over himself asking her to the ball. Then he couldn’t contain his frustration with Hermione for being another man’s date. This clued in readers to future romantic sparks.
The author used the classic romantic trope of a woman caught between two lovers and twisted it into a positive message about real love. Plus, to have a character stand next the best Quidditch seeker in the world and for readers to root for her to end up with sidekick shows the power of JR Rowling’s pen.
For next month we start the 2017 calendar year and as January is time for people to make unrealistic resolutions, I selected a Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. This is a story about two men who go for an extremely long hike and prove that you can still accomplish goals no matter your age. I’m hoping for inspiration but would settle for a good book and/or movie.
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen