Krum seems evil but is actually being controlled, Cedric dies, Wormtail loses a hand, Voldemort is back, Moody isn't Moody but is actually Crouch Jr and is responsible for all the shit that happened this year and Fudge refuses to listen to reason and has Crouch kissed by the dementors. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, Voldy got his gang back...
I remember when this book came out and there was a tonne of publicity about the fact that one of the characters was going to die. I can't remember if JK specified it was a secondary character or what, but I do remember feeling a little betrayed by it being Cedric. Sure, he's become a bigger character in this book but it was only so they could kill him off and get a reaction from everyone. I thought it might be someone we actually had developed a relationship with, even if it was still a secondary character, someone like Neville (NEVERRRRRRR). Of course, JK goes and shoves all this in my face over the next three books by killing SO MANY PEOPLE and reducing me to a blubbering mess approximately once every 15 pages. SO YOU WIN THIS THIS ONE JK.
I love how much this book deals with family and loss, and how much they can impact on who you become. You have people like Harry and Neville and even Hagrid who are defined by their loss probably because it came at such a young age, but then you also have people like CJ and Voldemort who were so resentful of their fathers that they let it twist them into hideous monsters bent on destroying other families. We see several stages of the destruction of the Crouch family, grief tear at the Diggorys and the fear of loss through Percy and Fleur at the second task. It's all very emotional and sad and makes you want to just curl into a ball in a corner somewhere and cry for all these fictional characters and their problems, but then there's the other side of it where you see Sirius's love and devotion to Harry, Moody comforting Neville (while actually being the torturer so it's a little messed up) or the Weasley's unofficial adoption of Harry. When Harry finds the Weasley's waiting for Harry before the final task and then has them surrounding his hospital bed, it's so wonderful to think he's finally found himself a family. And when Mrs Weasley hugs Harry at the hospital wing?
Mrs Weasley set the potion down on the bedside cabinet, bent down, and put her arms around Harry. He had no memory of ever being hugged like this, as though by a mother.
And when you compare these heartbreaking scenes with those at the start of the book at the World Cup or the courtroom scenes in the pensieve, it's an effective way to indicate the loss and fear and emotional turmoil that is to come now that Voldemort's back. Because as we have seen and will come to see, it's the family that really suffers during these wars, not the individual. They put the dark mark over a house so any returning family knows instantly that their loved ones are dead, sons, daughters, husbands etc die trying to fight against Voldemort, and punishment is not doled out on the person who offended Voldemort, instead it's everyone s/he loves that suffers. It's all very traumatic, and it only gets darker and more intense as the series goes on. This is such a great YA series, because it's about so much more than witches and wizards riding brooms and hexing each other in hallways - there's so much substance and thematic intent and it'd be impossible not to take a few life lessons away from it.
*"I no more suspect Madame Maxime than Hagrid," said Dumbledore, just as calmly, "I think it possible that it is you who are prejudiced, Cornelius" - BOOM
*Sirius was only two or three years older than Crouch Jr when they both went to jail so why is it so shocking that C.J was 19?
*"I'd probably say I had big bones if I knew what I'd get for telling the truth" - Hermione, telling it like it is.
*I feel like it's the scene after the pensieve when Harry and Dumbledore's relationship really gets started and they're both a little more open with each other.
*I love when Dumbledore gets that glint in his eye when Harry tells him about V getting around the protection spell - it just says so much about his character.
*Wormtail is treated pretty poorly considering V wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for him. And how exactly is C.J more loyal? He escaped jail and pleaded his innocence during his trial - I don't see how Wormtail is such a failure in comparison.
*Snape knows about Neville's parents, HE KNOWS and still treats Neville like shit for no reason other than to be a dick.
*It's pretty impressive how quickly Voldy and co get their plan sorted considering Wormtail only escaped Hogwarts 11 months ago. Credit where credit's due guys.
*Let's take a moment to remember David Tennant was Crouch Jr in the film.
*There's something messed up about Hermione keeping Skeeter locked up in a jar in beetle form.
*Harry's line to the twins about needing a laugh is so insightful but also really sad. He's 14, he shouldn't be thinking about things like that.
Rowling and Math Update
*Bill hasn't been at the school for 5 years - how does this fit with our age calculations, I can't remember what we'd decided about the older Weasley's ages?