This Friday Feature post continues my process of posting all the questions that I developed for a set of book discussions based on the Harry Potter book series. Today, I’m featuring Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the series.

Did you miss the set of discussion questions for the previous books? Then follow the links to the desired book:

First I addressed the discrepancy between the first print and subsequent printings of this book. I read the scene where Harry’s parents come out of his wand, which with the hardcover is on page 667. What order do Harry’s parents exit the wands (who has James coming out first and who has Lily exiting first)? Which way is the right way? J.K. Rowling explains it on her website that the order should have been “Lily first, than James. That’s how it appears in my original manuscript but we were under enormous pressure to edit it very fast and my American editor thought that was the wrong way around, and he is so good at catching small errors I changed it without thinking, than realized it had been right in the first place. We were all very sleep-deprived at the time.” It was fixed in later printings. I did this so that everyone was on the same page as to who was supposed to come out first, in case it came up during discussion.

1. Goblet of Fire is not the longest book, but it is much longer than the first three. Do you think J. K. Rowling could have cut something out to make it shorter? If so, what would you have cut? Do you think the length of this and future books discourage some kids from continuing the series? Do you think some kids shouldn’t read this book, and why?

2. As Harry grows up, his world expands. In Goblet of Fire, Harry becomes more aware of the international wizarding community than he has been before, and we finally learn about other schools like Hogwarts.

  • What differences and similarities (for instance, in dialogue and appearance) are there between the students from each school?
  • Do these characters change how you imagine the wizarding world?
  • Where do you think these schools are located and do you think there are still more schools that we don’t know about?

3. After the Quidditch Tournament, people started celebrating and then things turned ugly. Why do you think they started harassing the Muggle family? Why do you think the Death Eaters choose that moment to come out of hiding?

4. Hermione makes a comment during the riots that Ludo Bagman is “not exactly on top of things” and Ron brushes her off by saying “He was a great Beater though.” (127) Are there other times in the story that things don’t really add up, yet people decide to ignore what’s wrong or go along with it? Why do you think people were so accepting?

5. Do you like Mad-Eye Moody? What do you think of his teaching methods? Should he be doing the things he does, like turn Draco into a ferret and cursing students? Would you want him for a teacher, and do you think he’d treat you like Malfoy or like Harry?

6. Let’s talk about all the work Hermione does in an effort to improve “Elfish Welfare”.

  • Do you think Hermione is right in thinking elves need rights, or is Ron right when he says that they “like being enslaved”? (224)
  • Why do you think Hermione is the only one concerned about their wellbeing?
  • Were you surprised that Hermione couldn’t come up with a better acronym besides S.P.E.W?
  • How do you think the elves feel about Hermione’s efforts?

7. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Ron stop talking to people he’s angry with, since he did it to Hermione in the last book and now to Harry in this book. Is this the right way for him to handle things? Do you think this is how he acts when his brothers make him angry? Would you rather have someone who is mad at you yell or stop talking?

8. It seems like every Tournament competitor gets help in some way from someone. Were they supposed to get outside help? (Let the kids answer this, then refer to page 281 for official rules, which read “The champions are not permitted to ask for or accept help of any kind from their teachers to complete the tasks in the tournament.”) Do you think it’s fair that Cedric and Harry end up working together, and do you consider that breaking the rules? Do you think the heads of the schools should have been involved in the planning and scoring during the tournament?

9. Rita Skeeter routinely embellishes the stories that she reports. Why do you think she does this? Do you think she’s aware of the consequences of her reporting? Do you think news reporters today do the same thing?

10. Why did Voldemort want to duel Harry? Do you think it was a fair fight? What do you think would have happened if only Cedric had appeared with the Triwizard Cup? Do you think the other wizards would have eventually found out about Voldemort’s return?

11. Why do you think both Cedric and Harry didn’t want to claim the prize for themselves? If the Triwizard Cup hadn’t been a portkey, who do you think should have won, and do you think the other person would have felt bad later? If you had been Harry, what would you have done with the winnings? Do you think Harry is selfless in his actions, and can you find other instances in the book to back up your answer?

Next week, Order of the Phoenix!