Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
How we cite our quotes:
"Why do they have to move in packs?" Harry asked Ron as a dozen or so girls walked past them, sniggering and staring at Harry. "How're you supposed to get one on their own to ask them?"
"Lasso one?" Ron suggested. "Got any idea who you're going to try?"
Harry didn't answer. He knew perfectly well whom he'd like to ask, but working up the nerve was something else ... Cho was a year older than he was; she was very pretty; she was a very good Quidditch player, and she was also very popular. (22.28-30)
Once more, we're moving into teen movie territory here: poor Harry and Ron are suddenly confronting this strange species of herd creatures called "girls" for the first time. It's odd to watch these characters – especially Ron and Hermione – suddenly growing up enough to deal with attraction to one another. How realistic do you find Rowling's depiction of their growing romance? How does romance make the tone of Goblet of Fire different from the previous three novels? Could the novels have gotten by without any romance at all?
"We should get a move on, you know ... ask someone. He's right. We don't want to end up with a pair of trolls."
Hermione let out a sputter of indignation.
"A pair of ... what, excuse me?"
"Well – you know," said Ron, shrugging. "I'd rather go alone than with – with Eloise Midgen, say." [...]
"Oh I see," Hermione said, bristling. "So basically, you're going to take the best-looking girl who'll have you, even if she's completely horrible?"
"Er – yeah, that sounds about right," said Ron. (22.84-91)
Ron is hilariously dense in this scene – obviously Hermione is the last person who he should be telling that he's just going to take the best looking girl he can find no matter what she's like as a person. Rowling's heavy emphasis on dialogue in her writing really makes this kind of scene work. Even though the narration never comes out and says, here, Ron is oblivious and Hermione is hurt, Rowling shows it in the way that the characters' lines bounce off one another. We get insight into both of the characters in the most efficient way possible: straight from their own words. So Rowling is definitely a member of the show-don't-tell school of writing. And we like it.
But she didn't look like Hermione at all. She had done something with her hair; it was no longer bushy but sleek and shiny, and twisted up into an elegant knot at the back of her head. She was wearing robes made of a floaty, periwinkle-blue material, and she was holding herself differently, somehow – or maybe it was merely the absence of the twenty or so books she usually had slung over her back. She was also smiling – rather nervously, it was true – but the reduction in the size of her front teeth was more noticeable than ever; Harry couldn't understand how he had never spotted it before. (23.75)
Our little Hermione is growing up! It's one of the things that's funny about watching the actors who play the Harry Potter characters growing up on screen, because it makes the amount of transition they undergo between Book 1 and Book 7 even more visual. But Rowling does a great job of evoking Hermione's gradual physical maturing, which happens so slowly that Hermione's friends don't even notice at first. Harry so rarely notices his female friend's appearance that, when he does, you know Hermione must really be looking amazing.