I’ll have to peruse my thesaurus somewhat – I feel like I’m always describing things as “interesting”. In my defense, it’s because they are (to me, at least). At the same time, it doesn’t really need saying: why bother blogging about something if it isn’t interesting?
Re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has reminded me of some details I’d forgotten (e.g. meeting the Hogwarts elves in the kitchens, and the sorry state of Winky), but also reinforced others. I’m sure other people who have read the book (or seen the film) would agree that the three tasks of the Triwizard Tournament represent fairly major plot-points in the story*, and yet they take up a relatively small amount of the book. As I noted about the first task, partly this is because there is a lot of time spent in the build-up, the anticipation, rather than the event itself, which does a great deal to help the audience relate to Harry’s predicament.
There are unfortunate side effects to this, however (for me, anyway; your mileage may vary). The second task feels like a bit of a let-down – all the stress went into Harry figuring out the egg clue (which he was basically given the answer to), and then how to survive underwater (which he was definitely given the answer to in a clear-cut case of Dobby Ex Machina). For the actual task, he goes for a swim, deals – fairly easily – with some unruly water-dwellers, then is rewarded for ensuring all the hostages were rescued. It may have been intended that we feel a frisson of dread at the risk to Ron and Hermione (not to mention Cho and Gabrielle), but despite assertions that people have died in previous tournaments I can’t see a school competition putting non-competitors at risk.
From the way they’re presented, you’d think the Yule Ball was more daunting than the second task. Mind you, for Harry it probably was. And while I do feel sorry for both the Patil twins, I don’t blame Harry as much as Ron, who was being a grouchy git (but don’t worry, Harry gets his turn in the next book).
And, of course, the third task seems a bit… underwhelming, given what has happened previously. Especially given that Harry’s been dealing with Blast-Ended Skrewts all year, and encountered Acromantulas back in second year. The gold mist was an interesting little diversion, but not one to slow anyone down that much, and the Sphinx… well, to be fair, the sphinx was probably persuaded by Cheerful (i.e. not-Moody) to give him an easy riddle that hinted at what he’d have to face next.
Still, in terms of pacing, it’s wise not to make too much of the third task, given what comes next. But I haven’t read that part yet, so more on that another time.
* Note that I’m not saying they’re the only major plot points.