Study Guide

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Themes

  • Coming of Age

    Harry and friends were definitely kiddos when we first met them way back in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. But no more.

    In the category of "Normal Teen Stuff": they are starting to date and have weird, probably hormone-fueled disagreements.

    In the category of "Wizard Stuff":

    1. Harry has to compete in a dangerous teen wizarding tournament in which he could easily die. 
    2. The dark wizard who killed Harry's parents comes back to power, kills his friend, and promises to kill Harry, too.

    That's pretty heavy stuff—and since Voldemort's back, you know that the troubles and difficult times are only just getting started.

    Questions About Coming of Age

    1. What are some examples of ways we see Harry changing? How about Ron and Hermione?
    2. What big "transition to adulthood" type moments happen in this film for Harry/his friends?
    3. How important was adult guidance to what happens in this film? Was it there? Did it help?

    Chew on This

    Adults? What adults? Harry and his friends are largely on their own throughout this story, which signals a pretty big shift: Harry's going to have to solve a lot of his own problems from this point on.

    Cedric's death is a huge turning point in the story of Harry Potter. Watching a friend die = innocence totally lost.

  • Good vs. Evil

    Yeah, we know, this theme isn't super subtle in the film. With all the references to a "Dark Lord" and his "Dark Mark" and army of "dark wizards," we are pretty clear on the fact that the Harry Potter movies/books are all about the battle between good and evil.

    Voldemort and his ilk have no problem killing people to get what they want (which is basically tons of power and a more "pure" wizard community), and Harry is a total innocent who is kind to pretty much everyone and, well, keeps getting in Voldemort's way. The signs are clear: these two are headed for an epic throw down.

    Questions About Good vs. Evil

    1. How has our view of Harry's innocence shifted over the course of his journey/in this film? Is he still the good boy we met in the first film?
    2. What about the fact that Voldemort now has Harry's blood in him, and Harry has his mark? Doesn't that muddy the whole good vs. evil thing?
    3. And then, what about the Death Eaters? What about Snape? Can they be "cured" of their past evil ways?

    Chew on This

    The film is very clear about good and evil: they're totally different things, and you have to choose whether to be on one side or the other.

    There are people like Snape who seem to reform their evil ways, and Harry and Voldemort have kind of "tainted" each other—the film is setting us up to see things as more "gray" than "black and white."

  • Friendship

    One of the biggest things Harry has going for him is that he's got a tight group of friends who always support him. Well, er, almost always—when Harry's name ends up in the Goblet of Fire, things do get a little dicey with BFF Ron (and, well, basically everyone else at Hogwarts).

    That's really a minor bump in the road of Harry and Ron's bromance, though. Oh, and then there's Hermione, who's super close to both Harry and Ron. Well, until she and Ron have a fight because Ron is jealous that she's dating Viktor Krum.

    So, yeah, that's some more drama that breaks up their fearsome threesome briefly.

    Hmm, now that we think about it, it seems like Harry's friendships get tested quite a bit in this installment. Good thing they all pass that test and are all buddy-buddy again at the end of the film, since we're pretty sure they're really going to need each other now that Voldemort is back.

    Questions About Friendship

    1. Why do you think Ron goes all ballistic on Harry? He knows Harry's a good guy, so why does he suddenly believe the worst of him?
    2. What do you think of the changes to Hermione and Ron's relationship? Do you think their friendship is going to get stronger as they get closer…or is it in danger?
    3. What are some other examples of friendships that were tested in the course of the movie?
    4. Why do you think this film is so focused on weird, often petty friendship hiccups?

    Chew on This

    The film juxtaposes teen angst with the Triwizard Tournament to drive home an important point: the stakes of everything are getting really high, and everyone is going to need to stick together.

    Ron goes ballistic on Harry because he's jealous. Of course he is. Can you imagine being friends with the most famous kid in the world?

  • Courage

    Harry's story began with a big show of bravery: his mom sacrificed herself to try to save Harry. Good thing he seems to have inherited some of those guts, because guys, things are getting really dangerous for our hero in Goblet of Fire.

    Someone at Hogwarts made sure he was selected to compete in a super dangerous tournament (dangerous = people die), and then Voldemort ended up capturing him, using his blood to come back to life, and then trying to duel/kill Harry.

    Luckily, Harry escaped, but now that Voldemort is back…yeah, Harry's going to need all the courage he can string together.

    Questions About Courage

    1. What are some examples of Harry's courage that don't involve physical danger?
    2. What other characters demonstrate bravery and/or courage?
    3. What about cowards? Can we talk about them for a minute? Who are some cowards?

    Chew on This

    Well, we wouldn't say it's cowardly, but we're kind of surprised when Dumbledore gives into Crouch's insistence that Harry compete—isn't he known for standing up to the Ministry of Magic?

    Dumbledore draws back and lets Harry do his thing for the most part because Harry is going to have to defend himself soon enough—better he learn now under "supervision," we suppose.