Throughout the three previous novels in the Harry Potter series, the main character, Harry Potter, has struggled with the difficulties of growing up, and the added challenge of being a famed wizard: when Harry was a baby, Lord Voldemort, the most powerful Dark wizard in history, killed Harry's parents but mysteriously vanished after unsuccessfully trying to kill Harry, which left a lightning-shaped scar on Harry's forehead. This results in Harry's immediate fame and his being placed in the care of his abusive muggle, or non-magical, aunt and uncle, Aunt Petunia Dursley and Uncle Vernon Dursley, who have a son named Dudley Dursley.
Harry learns that he is a wizard when he is 11 years old, just before he enrolls in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and is confronted by Lord Voldemort who is trying to regain power. In Harry's first year he has to protect the Philosopher's Stone from Voldemort and one of his faithful followers at Hogwarts. After returning to the school after summer break, students at Hogwarts are attacked by the legendary monster of the "Chamber of Secrets" after the chamber is opened. Harry ends the attacks by killing a Basilisk and defeating another attempt by Lord Voldemort to return to full strength. The following year, Harry hears that he has been targeted by escaped mass murderer Sirius Black. Despite stringent security measures at Hogwarts, Harry is confronted by Black at the end of his third year of schooling, and Harry learns that Black was framed and is actually Harry's godfather. He also learned that it was his father's old school friend Peter Pettigrew who actually betrayed his parents.
The book opens with Harry seeing Frank Bryce being killed by Lord Voldemort in a vision, and is awoken by his scar hurting. The Weasleys then take Harry and Hermione Granger to the Quidditch World Cup, using a Portkey, to watch Ireland versus Bulgaria, with Ireland emerging victorious. There, Harry meets Cedric Diggory, who is attending the match with his father. After the match, Voldemort's followers attack the site, destroying spectators' tents and wreaking havoc. The Dark Mark gets fired into the sky, which leads to a panic since it is the first time the sign has been seen in 13 years. Winky, Barty Crouch Senior's house elf, is falsely accused of casting the Mark after she is found holding Harry's wand, which is revealed to have been used to cast the Mark, as Harry had lost it during the chaos of the Death Eaters' attack. Hermione, angry at this injustice, forms a society to promote the rights of house elves.
At Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore announces that Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody will be the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher for the year, and also that Hogwarts will host the Triwizard Tournament, with a prize of one thousand gold Galleons. However, only those over 17—the age of majority in the wizarding world—will be allowed to enter. It is the first time in 202 years that the Triwizard Tournament will be held. Students from Beauxbatons Academy and the Durmstrang Institute, other wizarding academies, will travel to Hogwarts, where they will stay for the year, in hopes of competing. At Halloween, the Goblet of Fire picks Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons Academy; Viktor Krum (who is also the Seeker on Bulgaria's Quidditch team) from Durmstrang Institute; and Cedric Diggory from Hogwarts to compete in the tournament. However, it additionally gives a fourth name—Harry Potter—leading to suspicion and indignation from everyone and magically binding Harry to compete. Ron is jealous that Harry is once again in the limelight and refuses to speak to Harry.
Hagrid reveals to Harry that the first task involves dragons, and since Fleur and Krum's headmasters are also aware of this, and will surely tell them in advance, Harry informs Cedric as well. At the task, Harry has to pass a Hungarian Horntail to retrieve a golden egg that contains a hint to the next task, which he does by summoning his Firebolt broomstick with the Accio spell, and finishes the task tied for first with Krum. Ron and Harry subsequently reconcile, Ron now understanding the full danger of the tournament. When Harry opens the egg, though, it merely shrieks loudly. Hermione then takes Harry and Ron to the school kitchens, where house elves work. There, they meet a distraught Winky, who is struggling to get over the loss of her sacking. They also meet Harry's old friend Dobby, who has been employed at Hogwarts to work in the kitchens; he is the only known house elf to appreciate his freedom, despite his hardworking nature.
Meanwhile, gossipy reporter Rita Skeeter is writing scandalous articles of half-truths and outright fabrications in The Daily Prophet about those at Hogwarts, including Hermione, Harry, Hagrid, and Madame Maxime of Beauxbatons.
With the Yule Ball approaching, Harry must find a partner, but when he finally approaches his crush Cho Chang, Cedric has beaten him to her, so Harry and Ron ask Parvati and Padma Patil. Ron is shocked and jealous to see that Hermione is attending with Krum. Cedric gives Harry a tip on the egg, telling him to take it to the prefects' bathroom, but Harry refuses to listen, jealous over Cho.
Finally acting on the tip, Harry takes the egg to the prefects' bathroom, where Moaning Myrtle tells him to listen to the egg underwater; there the words become understandable. Harry learns that the task is to recover something he will "sorely miss", and starts looking for spells to help him breathe where the objects will be taken: The Black Lake. By the morning of the task, Harry still hasn't found a solution, but Dobby gives him some Gillyweed to give Harry gills. Harry completes the task by rescuing Ron from under the lake. Harry then takes a risk by also rescuing Fleur's younger sister, Gabrielle, after Fleur was unable to. After the judges confer, he earns enough points to tie him with Cedric for the lead.
One month before the final task, Harry and Krum are talking when they encounter Crouch, who appears to have gone insane, but manages to tell Harry to get Dumbledore. Leaving Krum with Crouch, Harry fetches Dumbledore but returns to find Krum stunned and Crouch gone. Harry returns to preparing for the final task, a hedge maze. Inside the maze, Harry is forced to incapacitate Krum, who has been bewitched, to save Cedric. Working together, the two reach the cup. They agree to touch it at the same time, and doing so, discover that it is a Portkey that transports them to a graveyard. There, Peter Pettigrew kills Cedric and uses Harry's blood (along with his own hand and Tom Riddle Sr.'s bone) to resurrect Lord Voldemort.
Voldemort summons his Death Eaters, berating them for thinking he was dead, before he reveals that he has a single "faithful servant" concealed at Hogwarts, who has been working to ensure that Harry would make it to the graveyard, and then challenges Harry to a duel. However, when he and Harry fire curses at each other, their wands connect due to their identical cores. Voldemort's wand releases the most recent spells it performed, resulting in imprints of his last victims appearing in the graveyard, including Harry's parents, who provide a distraction so that Harry can escape back to Hogwarts using the Portkey, taking Cedric's body with him.
When he returns, Moody takes him to his office, and reveals himself to be Voldemort's 'faithful servant'; he was the one who put Harry's name into the Goblet of Fire, and has been guiding him through the tournament from behind the scenes to ensure that he would grab the Portkey first. Before Moody can kill Harry, Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape intervene. They learn that Moody is in fact Barty Crouch Jr., Mr. Crouch's son, disguised by Polyjuice Potion. Crouch had sentenced Crouch Jr. to life imprisonment in Azkaban over alleged ties to the Death Eaters but smuggled him out as a last favour to his dying wife. Crouch Jr. was the one who set off the Dark Mark at the Quidditch World Cup, doing it to scare the Death Eaters he felt had abandoned Voldemort. Eventually, Voldemort had gotten in contact with Crouch Jr. and had him impersonate Moody as part of his plan. Crouch Jr. also admits to killing Crouch Sr., to prevent him telling Dumbledore about Voldemort. The real Moody is found inside Crouch Jr.'s enchanted trunk and rescued. Harry is then declared the winner of the Triwizard Tournament and given his winnings.
Many people, including Fudge, do not believe Harry and Dumbledore about Voldemort's return, and as Fudge has the Dementor's Kiss performed, Crouch Jr. is unable to give testimony. Hermione discovers Rita Skeeter is an unregistered Animagus, who can take the form of a beetle, and blackmails her to force her to stop writing her libellous stories. Not wanting his tournament winnings, Harry gives them to Fred and George to start their joke shop and returns home with the Dursleys.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series. The first, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published by Bloomsbury on 26 June 1997; the second, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published on 2 July 1998; and the third, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, followed on 8 July 1999. Goblet of Fire is considerably longer than the first three; almost twice the size (the paperback edition was 636 pages). Rowling stated that she "knew from the beginning it would be the biggest of the first four". She said there needed to be a "proper run-up" for the conclusion and rushing the "complex plot" could confuse readers. She also stated that "everything is on a bigger scale" which was symbolic, as Harry's horizons widened both literally and metaphorically as he grew up. She also wanted to explore more of the magical world.
Until the official title's announcement on 27 June 2000, the book was called by its working title, 'Harry Potter IV.' Previously, in April, the publisher had listed it as Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament. However, J. K. Rowling expressed her indecision about the title in an Entertainment Weekly interview. "I changed my mind twice on what [the title] was. The working title had got out — Harry Potter and the Doomspell Tournament. Then I changed Doomspell to Triwizard Tournament. Then I was teetering between Goblet of Fire and Triwizard Tournament. In the end, I preferred Goblet of Fire because it's got that kind of cup of destiny feel about it, which is the theme of the book."
Rowling mentioned that she originally had a Weasley relative named Malfalda, who, according to Rowling, "was the daughter of the 'second cousin who's a stockbroker' mentioned in Philosopher's Stone. This stockbroker had been very rude to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in the past, but now he and his (Muggle) wife had inconveniently produced a witch, they came back to the Weasleys asking for their help in introducing her to wizarding society before she starts at Hogwarts". Malfalda was supposed to be a Slytherin and who was to fill in the Rita Skeeter subplot, but eventually was removed as "there were obvious limitations to what an eleven year old closeted at school could discover". Rowling considered Rita Skeeter to be "much more flexible". Rowling also admitted that the fourth book was the most difficult to write at the time, because she noticed a giant plot hole halfway through writing. In particular, Rowling had trouble with the ninth chapter, "The Dark Mark", which she rewrote 13 times.
Jeff Jensen, who interviewed Rowling for Entertainment Weekly in 2000, pointed out that bigotry is a big theme in the Harry Potter novels and Goblet of Fire in particular. He mentioned how Voldemort and his followers are prejudiced against Muggles and how in Goblet of Fire Hermione forms a group to liberate Hogwarts' house-elves who have "been indentured servants so long they lack desire for anything else". When asked why she explored this theme, Rowling replied,
Because bigotry is probably the thing I detest most. All forms of intolerance, the whole idea of that which is different from me is necessarily evil. I really like to explore the idea that difference is equal and good. But there's another idea that I like to explore, too. Oppressed groups are not, generally speaking, people who stand firmly together – no, sadly, they kind of subdivide among themselves and fight like hell. That's human nature, so that's what you see here. This world of wizards and witches, they're already ostracized, and then within themselves, they've formed a loathsome pecking order.
She also commented that she did not feel this was too "heavy" for children, as it was one of those things that a "huge number of children at that age start to think about".
Goblet of Fire was the first book in the Harry Potter series to be released in the United States on the same date as the United Kingdom, on 8 July 2000, strategically on a Saturday so children did not have to worry about school conflicting with buying the book. It had a combined first-printing of over five million copies. It was given a record-breaking print run of 3.9 million. Three million copies of the book were sold over the first weekend in the US alone. FedEx dispatched more than 9,000 trucks and 100 planes to fulfill book deliveries. The pressure in editing caused a mistake which shows Harry's father emerging first from Voldemort's wand; however, as confirmed in Prisoner of Azkaban, James died first, so then Harry's mother ought to have come out first. This was corrected in later editions.
To publicise the book, a special train named Hogwarts Express was organised by Bloomsbury, and run from King's Cross to Perth, carrying J.K. Rowling, a consignment of books for her to sign and sell, also representatives of Bloomsbury and the press. The book was launched on 8 July 2000, on platform 1 at King's Cross – which had been given "Platform 9 3⁄4" signs for the occasion – following which the train departed. En route it called at Didcot Railway Centre, Kidderminster, the Severn Valley Railway, Crewe (overnight stop), Manchester, Bradford, York, the National Railway Museum (overnight stop), Newcastle, Edinburgh, arriving at Perth on 11 July. The locomotive was West Country class steam locomotive no. 34027 Taw Valley, which was specially repainted red for the tour; it later returned to its normal green livery (the repaints were requested and paid for by Bloomsbury). The coaches of the train included a sleeping car. A Diesel locomotive was coupled at the other end, for use when reversals were necessary, such as the first stage of the journey as far as Ferme Park, just south of Hornsey. The tour generated considerably more press interest than the launch of the film Thomas and the Magic Railroad which was premièred in London the same weekend.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has received mostly positive reviews. In The New York Times Book Review, author Stephen King stated the Goblet of Fire was "every bit as good as Potters 1 through 3" and praised the humour and subplots, although he commented that "there's also a moderately tiresome amount of adolescent squabbling...it's a teenage thing". Kirkus Reviews called it "another grand tale of magic and mystery...and clicking along so smoothly that it seems shorter than it is". However, they commented that it did tend to lag, especially at the end where two "bad guys" stopped the action to give extended explanations, and that the issues to be resolved in sequels would leave "many readers, particularly American ones, uncomfortable". For The Horn Book Magazine, Martha V. Parravano gave a mixed review, saying "some will find [it] wide-ranging, compellingly written, and absorbing; others, long, rambling, and tortuously fraught with adverbs". A Publishers Weekly review praised the book's "red herrings, the artful clues and tricky surprises that disarm the most attentive audience" and saying it "might be her most thrilling yet." Writing for The New Yorker, Joan Acocella noted that "where the prior volumes moved like lightning, here the pace is slower, the energy more dispersed. At the same time, the tone becomes more grim."
Kristin Lemmerman of CNN said that it is not great literature: 'Her prose has more in common with your typical beach-blanket fare and the beginning contained too much recap to introduce characters to new readers, although Rowling quickly gets back on track, introducing readers to a host of well-drawn new characters.' Writing for Salon.com, Charles Taylor was generally positive about the change of mood and development of characters. Entertainment Weekly's reviewer Kristen Baldwin gave Goblet of Fire the grade of A-, praising the development of the characters as well as the many themes presented. However, she did worry that a shocking climax may be a nightmare factory for young readers.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire won several awards, including the 2001 Hugo Award for Best Novel. It won the 2002 Indian Paintbrush Book Award, the third after Philosopher's Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban. The novel also won an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award for one of the best books, who claimed it was "more intense than the first three books". In addition, Entertainment Weekly listed Goblet of Fire in second place on their list of The New Classics: Books – The 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was adapted into a film, released worldwide on 18 November 2005, which was directed by Mike Newell and written by Steve Kloves. The film grossed $102.7 million for the opening weekend, and eventually grossed $896 million worldwide. The film was also nominated for Best Art Direction at the 78th Academy Awards.
It was also made into a video game for PC, PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, Game Boy Advance, and PlayStation Portable by Electronic Arts. It was released just before the film.
Much of the plot of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child involves a revisiting scenes from Goblet of Fire, with younger protagonists born long after these events travelling back in time in a misguided effort to change history and save Cedric Diggory - which only leads to them damaging events in the present and worsening the situation.