Mark Reads ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’: Chapter 8

In the eighth chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, there’s elf wankery, Malfoy drudgery, and an exciting and brutal round of Quidditch. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Harry Potter.


We’ve got three things to talk about today. And they’re fun ones.

1) House-Elf Liberation

Now I have a feeling why one of the chapters of this book is called, “The House-Elf Liberation Front.” And this is goddamn fascinating.

Harry meets a friend of Dobby’s at the World Cup and their conversation quickly turns to how Dobby is doing as a free house-elf.

  • “How is he?” said Harry. “How’s freedom suiting him?”

    “Ah, sir,” said Winky, shaking her head, “ah sir, meaning no disrespect, sir, but I is not sure you did Dobby a favor, sir, when you is setting him free.”

    “Why?” said Harry, taken aback. “What’s wrong with him?”

    “Freedom is going to Dobby’s head, sir,” said Winky sadly. “Ideas above his station, sir. Can’t get another position, sir.”

    “Why not?” said Harry.

    Winky lowered her voice by a half-octave and whispered, “He is wanting paying for his work, sir.”

oh my god HEAD ASPLODE. This is some deep shit, guys. With freedom comes the value of one’s own self-worth. And how is this dealt with?

  • “Paying?” said Harry blankly. “Well–why shouldn’t he be paid?”

    Winky looked quite horrified at the idea and closed her fingers slightly so that her face was half-hidden again.

    “House-elves is not paid, sir!” she said in a muffled squeak. “No, no, no. I says to Dobby, I says, go find yourself a nice family and settle down, Dobby. He is getting up to all sorts of hijinks, sir, what is unbecoming to a house-elf. You goes racketing around like this, Dobby, I says, and the next thing I hear you’s up in from of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, like some common goblin.”

Seriously mind-blowing. I didn’t expect an issue like this to come up. I think it’s great that Rowling has Winky act as anyone in that situation would: within the confines of their specific culture. Granted, I don’t know enough about the house-elf world to properly comment on this, but even though, to Harry, this sounds like a ludicrous concept, it’s what house-elves have always known.

I’ll be more impressed if Rowling finds a way, from here on out, to describe why indentured servitude/slavery is morally wrong.


2) The Malfoys deserve to die in all the fires ever.

Literally. Just erase them from any future books because I’m done trying to ~understand~ them anymore. They are shitty, classist, racist shitbags who deserve to die in all the fires.

  • It was a tense moment. Mr. Weasley and Mr. Malfoy looked at each other and Harry vividly recalled the last time they had come face-to-face: It had been in Flourish and Blotts bookshop, and they had had a fight. Mr. Malfoy’s cold gray eyes swept over Mr. Weasley, and then up and down the row.

    “Good lord, Arthur,” he said softly. “What did you have to sell to get seats in the Top Box? Surely your house wouldn’t have fetched this much?”

Are there earthquakes in the Harry Potter world? Could one happen right now and then the earth would open up and split the stadium seats right where the Malfoys are sitting and only they would fall into the earth as the earth eats them like a couple of appetizers before a six course meal? OM NOM NOM EVIL PEOPLE ARE TASTY.

Ugh. UGH.

3) The Quidditch World Cup is actually pretty exciting.

I decided against going through the pages describing the opening of the match and the action that follows it, only because I’d be quoting sections and then just saying, “WOW, THIS IS REALLY NEAT.” And trust me, that’s not stunning writing. I love the mascots, I love the urgency with which Rowling writes the scene, and I also love that George and Fred actually win their bet against Bagman in the end.

So instead of reliving it with you, I’m going to ask you to do this: Get out your copies of Goblet of Fire and re-read the Quidditch section. While you do, put this video on repeat:

Now you’ve got a truly genuine World Cup experience.

A note about reviews this week: I will do my best to post two reviews a day, as planned, but I am also packing and moving to Oakland on Saturday. Yesterday was hijacked by such things and I couldn’t get this review up until today.

You will definitely get a review per day, and if I can find the time, you’ll get a second. But you may have to wait until I settle in next week for me to return to my normal routine.

Thanks! You can follow me on Twitter (@panasonicyouth) to follow along with my moving adventures and to get updates about Harry Potter reviews as well. 🙂 🙂 🙂