“Reducto,” “Impedimenta,” and “Priori Incancatatum:” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

October 26, 2010

NB: I have to admit … I’m not giving this post my all here.  I have a couple of reasons (excuses) including that I’ve been really busy, that I don’t really like Goblet of Fire all that much, and that I’ve now gone past it and am well into Order of the Phoenix so it isn’t even all that fresh in my mind.  Never the less, I am way too OCD to skip it and move on so …

Dark Defence Training Camp, Courtesy of Lord Voldemort

As much as I don’t really enjoy this book, it is very necessary to the plot.  To buy the series as a whole, we all have to believe that Harry Potter does indeed have a chance when it comes to beating Lord Voldemort.  This seems irrational in the first book even when the Dark Lord is just a creepy face in the back of Quirrel’s head.  As we watch Voldemort cut a swath through the opening chapters of later books it becomes more and more difficult to believe.  But as the danger grows, young Harry starts to rise to the challenge.  He defeats the first Horcrux without evening knowing it, then he learns the difficult Patronus charm and uses it to protect himself against long odds.  But his real shot at self defense (and saving the world) is actually provided to him by Voldemort when he spends his whole fourth year learning every jinx he can get his hands on.

It turns out to be a wonderful prep year for later strife.  He and Hermione (and later Ron) put in countless hours practicing and studying spells which come in useful again and again as they start to run into real Death Eaters.  Plus Harry (and all of them) get personally tutored by a death eater in how to resist the Imperius curse in class.  The fact that he’s actually evil aside, Barty Crouch Jr.’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class is arguably the best one they get in terms of defending oneself against said Dark Arts.  Even his message of “constant vigilance” is a motto that Harry later adopts for himself.

Lord Voldemort’s Ridiculously Complex Plan

So Lord Voldemort’s convoluted plan is actually the thing that prepares Harry (and the whole trio) to meet the upcoming onslaught of death eaters more than anything else.  Granted he didn’t intend for Harry to survive past the graveyard scene so he didn’t care what training he was picking up during that year but still … this is one of the more silly diabolical master plans I’ve come across in literature.

Why not, once he had “Moody” in place have him keep Harry after class the first day, turn his quill into a port key and then drop it have Harry pick it up and abduct him straigt away?  Or why not, have “Moody” just go over to the Burrow and collect him straight from the Weasley’s.  Arthur would never have suspected a thing until it was too late.  Or why not, for that matter, have someone else … ANYONE ELSE … kill Harry.  The plan always seems a little silly to me at the end.

Curses, Hexes, Jinxes and Charms

I love all the spells in Harry Potter and this book is full of them.  I’ve definitely been known to try alohamora on my apartment door when the keys are hiding at the bottom of my bag or even priori incantatum on improperly saved word documents.  (Its never worked).  But I love the process of watching Harry (and co) learn new spells in this book.  Once again, when in doubt, they go t the library.  And then they practice practice practice to learn what they may need.

If you happen to be interested there are pretty comprehensive lists of wizarding spells from the books at both wikipedia and the Harry Potter wiki which are fun to read through.

And all the rest

Its been too long for me to clearly remember and spout off about all the things which particularly annoy me (Ron’s incredibly jerky behavior, Harry’s constant procrastination and lying, and Cho) or which I particularly love (Hermione’s feud with Rita, the Blast Ended Screwts, Professor McGonagall’s dancing lesson) so … I won’t.  I’ll just pick up again soon with Order of the Phoenix … stay tuned.

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One Response to ““Reducto,” “Impedimenta,” and “Priori Incancatatum:” Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

  1. denisedthornton Says:

    I love your breezy but accurate renderings of these tales.


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