BBC Big Read Transcript
Faye Ripley defended Harry Potter and the Goblet of
Fire as the best book of all time on BBC's as part of a shortlist of 21, on BBC
Two on Saturday 29th November 2003. If you would like to vote for Harry Potter
please click here. The winner
will be announced on the 13th December.
Programme Introduction: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has
completely reinvented children's writing. It's a fairy tale, a school story, a
thriller, and, of course, it's magical.
Presenter: We begin with a book placed at
#6. Here's Faye Ripley on why J.K. Rowling's book 'Harry Potter and the Goblet
of Fire' has her completely spellbound.
*Cut to dungeon*
Narrator: There was a time not so very long ago when Gameboys
and Playstations rules. But then, as if my magic, something happened. But not
just any magic, Harry Potter magic! And Harry Potter doesn't get any more spell
bounding than the Goblet of Fire, it's a fairy tale, a school story, a thriller,
it has heroism, danger, and it's very funny. And of course, it's magical.
The books have literally flown off the shelves because
they've cast a spell over millions of different people: adults, children, boys,
girls, in over 200 languages and in 57 countries. But Harry Potter isn't just
about magic: it's about the magic of reading.
*singing* I'm mad, about a boy.
*Cut to images of London*
Narrator: Imagine, 2 worlds, 1 world, where you
and I live in, the recognised world, where everything is as it seems to be.
Harry calls it the "Muggle World", full of muggles, or non-magic people.
And then there's the wizarding world, where nothing is
as it seems.
*Cut to picture of Hogwarts*
It's a realm of curses, and spells, and fantastic
*Cut to explosion*
This is the world... of Harry Potter!
Harry is a young boy wizard, whose parents have been
murdered by the evil wizard, Voldemort. Voldemort is Harry's mortal enemy and
they've been battling it out since the 1st book. This is the heart of all the
Harry Potter stories: the battle between good and evil. And this is where the
Goblet of Fire starts, not with Harry but with Voldermort.
The Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in J.K.
Rowling's series of Harry Potter books. It begins with a riddle at the ghostly
*Cut to old house with fire in hearth*
"He opened his mouth and let out a scream. He was
screaming so loudly that he never heard the words the thing in the chair spoke
as it raised a wand. There was a flash of green light, a rushing sound, and
Frank Bryce crumpled.
He was dead before he hit the floor."
As opening chapters go this one is very scary.
Voldemort is back and is looking for revenge. And the riddle of Riddle house
isn't solved until the very end: until then, the sense of danger lurk just
beneath the surface, so you have to keep turning the pages to see what happens
*Cut to suburban city*
Harry grows up an orphan with a mysterious lightening
bolt scar on his forehead. He lives in the Muggle World at number 4, Privet
Drive, with his relatives Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and their revolting son
Dudley. It's an idealised suburbia full of routines where everyone's desire is
to be like everyone else. But Harry wants to be different.
Being an orphan probably isn't a bundle of laughs but
it is a great base for a story. It gives Harry a certain amount of freedom
because he's not emotionally tied to the Durlseys so he can go on adventures and
discover who he really is. It leaves his life open to so many possibilties.
Harry hates his relatives and their suburban life. But at least in the Goblet of
Fire he's learnt how to stand up to them.
I know how Harry feels, you know. I came from suburbia
as well you know, and, yeah, you don't need to lock your doors at night, and
everyone wears loads of make up to the supermarket, but, let's face it, it is a
little bit dull.
Dull never did anyone any harm, but it never lets you
be different, and Rowling makes it clear that there's a world full of
My flight from suburbia took me as far as Streatham,
London, but Harry manages to get a little bit further.
*Cut to book flying over London, a train then onto
Harry discovers that he has inherited his parents gift
for magic and is enrolled at Hogwart's school for Witches and Wizards. Hogswarts
is Rowling great set piece, and is everything and more that you'd expect from a
*Shot of dining hall and castle corridors*
Every aspect of school life has been reinvented, doors
have passwords, there are secret passages everywhere, and the painting can talk.
The real trick, though, is that Rowling has created a
believable world that the reader wants to be a part of. Hogwarts is immediately
recognisable, from playing fields to detentions, but all given a magical twist.
The dining hall which is set with gold plates and the
food just appears by magic. Candles that just float in mid air. And the ceiling:
it's enchanted, which basically means that the weather outside appears above the
kids heads. But when Harry comes back to school this time the ceiling also
reflects the darker mood of the book.
*Shot of clock and muffled singing*
*School classroom in black and white*
I'm convinced that one of the reasons why people love
these books so much is because Hogwarts is the flip side of what our real
experiences of what a real school is like. And we all know what that is!
It's not surprising is it, that Hogwarts is so attractive as an
idea, because kids... they're just under so much pressure these days, as league
tables and SATs (Standard Assessment tests, taken by children in the UK)
and exams every 5 minutes. None of that really applied to be, to be quite
honest, I was more concerned with my conkers, to be quite honest.
But Hogwarts had classes in things like potions, charms, defence
against dark arts, care of magical creatures, all sorts of things. I seem to
remember spending a lot of my time just... picking my nose and... sitting at the
back of the class with my mates, daydreaming, mainly about Donny Osmond,
*Donny Osmond video shots in window*
Harry didn't always concentrate... unless it was Quidditch, of
End of class.
*Cut to staircase*
Quidditch is Harry's sport.
"A hundred thousand witches and wizards were taking their places
in the seats, which rose in levels around the long, oval pitch. Everything was
suffused with a mysterious golden light that seemed to come from the stadium
*Cut to girls pretending to play Quidditch in garden*
Quidditch is Rowling's greatest invention. It's a sport like no
other, played on broomsticks. It's a sort of, airbourne hockey. This is a game
that has really captured children's imaginations, and it's a game they really
want to play. Rowling has thought through every detail of this game, the scoring
system, team tactics, there's even a David Beckham character.
*Cut to football stadium commentary box*
Victor Krum. In the Goblet of Fire Harry doesn't actually get to
play Quidditch, but he does get to play the Quidditch World Cup.
*Cut to stands with fan holding up scarf saying "Victor Krum"*
Loudspeakers: Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome, welcome to
the 422nd Quidditch World Cup!
*Fanfares and fireworks*
Narrator: Throughout the story there are loads of
brilliant inventions, and my favourite are the omnioculars, which are basically
magical binoculars, and you can get close ups and slow motion, and replays and
all sorts of things when you look through them.
*Mock up of camera looking through omnioculars*
Throughout the Goblet of Fire, Rowling keeps the threat of evil
bubbling away. It's at the World Cup that the Dark Mark appears, and is a
chilling reminder that it might all be fun on the pitch, but lurking in the
shadows and biding his time is Harry's arch rival, Voldemort.
*Sky clouds over*
This proves to be just a curtain raiser to the real mystery of
the book. Rowling knows how to hold her readers: the book is a roller coaster of
twists and turns, with Rowling constantly surprising us with her wit and
inventive use of language. Many of the spells and curses that Harry is armed
with to fight Voldermort come wrapped in a fun form of Latin.
That means levitating feathers.
That's the summoning spell.
That's the disarming spell.
Latin was never this much fun. I remember it being very very
boring. But then, I couldn't use it to charm people, or curse them, for that
matter. Did you know, that the spells used in Harry Potter have revived interest
in the Latin language, There's even a Latin edition: Harrius Potter.
Thankfully there's more to Hogwarts than learning spells in
Latin. Harry finds out that there's to be a Triwizard tournament. This is where
the actual Goblet of Fire comes in. It's another one of J.K. Rowlings great
*Girl makes mock up of Goblet of Fire with cup, Wine Gums and,
bizarrely, pink Post-It notes.*
At the Triwizard tournament 3 different champion from 3
different schools are to be selected to compete in 3 different tasks.
Competitors names are placed in the Goblet of Fire. The cup magically selects
one from each school. Harry isn't old enough to compete, so he's pretty
surprised when his name is selected from the cup.
Girl: It's Harry Potter!
*Cut back to castle*
Narrator: And the Goblet is crucial in the book, because
the question is, who put Harry's name in the cup? Whoever did has got it in for
him. It's a whodunnit that keeps you guessing till the end... (gasp).
The Goblet of Fire is all about adventure and danger, self
sacrifice and friendship. Harry takes all this on. He's an archetypal hero, sent
on a quest to prove himself.
For the 1st task in the tournament, Harry is faced with a
challenge any good hero would recognise: to fight a dragon.
"Can't scare me away, I'm going to win the Triwizard
"And there was the Horntail, at the other end of the enclosure,
crouched low over her clutch of eggs, her wings half furled, her evil yellow
eyes upon him, a monstrous scaled black lizard, thrashing her spiked tail,
leaving yard long gouge marks in the hard ground."
We need heros that we can identify with, and these have been
missing from children's literature. Harry is flawed but brave, and will fight to
overcome adversity against all the odds.
The school champions meet 4 dragon breeds, imagined as if
through a zoologist's eye by Rowling. Alongside the Hungarian Horntail is the
Common Welsh Green, the Swedish Shortsnout, and the Red Chinese Fireball. The
Goblet of Fire is peppered with mythical creatures: sea monsters, serpents:
they're familiar legendary beasts, but the books skill is in recreating them
with a kind of mischievous gleam.
Rowling has this knack of taking ancient themes and making them
just fresh and funny. This book is sometimes so close to real life and sometimes
it's not that you can sometimes not see the joins. But it's the fact that it's
so believable that gives Harry Potter the edge really. It's so rooted in our
lives, as is Harry really, he's not romanticised, and right from the beginning
Rowling makes a decision, which is, to let Harry grow up.
*Cut to school playground with children texting on mobile
Harry, rather than being stuck at the same age forever, ages one
year with each book. His character is constantly developing both physically and
emotionally, and reflects much of the youthful angst his readers might be going
through themselves. The adolescent yearning in Goblet of Fire differ wildly from
the childish yearnings he experiences in the previous books.
But Harry's growing pains come to the fore: there's to be an
extra task: a yuletide ball, and Harry needs to ask a girl to be his partner.
*Cut to disco*
Harry is growing up. He's 14 in the Goblet of Fire and so not
really a little boy any more. It's the beginning of adolescense.
"'Why do they have to move in packs?' Harry asked Ron as a group
of a dozen girls moved past them, giggling and laughing at Harry. 'How are you
meant to get one on their own to ask them?'
'Lasso one?' Ron suggested. 'Got any idea who you're going to
Harry didn't answer. He knew perfectly well who he'd like to
ask, but working up the nerve was something else."
It's quite a comforting thing to read about your hero's own
emotional vulnerabilities: Actually, Harry's experiences are proving to be a bit
of a user's guide to adolesence.
As Harry is growing up, the books are changing. This one is 636
pages: it's the War and Peace of children's literature. And the readers are
undaunted. In fact, some of them do it in a day!
The fact that Rowling has the power to carry readers through 636
pages speaks volumes for her narrative skill, and has drawn in a whole new
*Cut to BBC News article*
Newsreader: The latest installment of the Harry
Potter series is out tomorrow...
Narrator: Harry was almost the most famous boy
in the world of wizards, now he's the most famous boy in our own world too.
Pottermania has gone global!
*Cut to scenes of London*
The Goblet of Fire became the fastest selling book in
British publishing history. Queues stretched around the block. Kids would even
sleep out overnight just to get there hands on the book. They reckon that every
30 seconds someone in the world starts reading a Harry Pptter book. But don't be
fooled, these books aren't just on shelves, they're in people's lives. People
talk about Harry Potter in schools, on buses, everywhere!
There's something very universal about Harry. He's
become universal. He's almost a Sherlock Holmes or a James Bond.
*Cut to pictures of London Underground*
I'm sure that's why Harry's gone from being a kids
icon to an adults one. The Harry Potter books have done more to bridge the gap
between reading tastes than anything else, and it's one the whole family can
*Cut to tube train carriage with everyone reading
Harry Potter is pure escapism from the scary adult
world, and has resulted in a whole new publishing fiction, known as 'Kidult'.
It's so like to meet the publishers that turned her
down. Do you think they were the same people who turned down the Beatles? Poor
*Cut to maze of purple holly*
At Hogwarts the excitement has been building, it's the
final task of the Triwizard tournament. Harry has completed all the tasks so
far, and he's neck and neck with his rivals. To win the tournament, Harry has to
find his way to the centre of a maze. But it's no no ordinary maze, and as Harry
races towards his final goal, he has to confront those things that he fears
"Every so often he hit more dead ends. But the
increasing darkness made his feel sure that he was approaching the centre of the
maze. But then, as he strode down a long, straight path, he saw movement again,
and his beam of wand light hit an extraordinary figure, one that he's only seen
before in picture form."
Children love to be scared, and being in a maze adds
an extra sense of panic and fear, from which it's difficult to escape. But it's
all about mind games and Rowling's skill is at hinting about what's bubbling
below the surface. The maze... is just the beginning!
Basically, the whole thing is a nightmare, but it
doesn't matter, because, as with all good heroes, if you stick with Harry,
you'll be okay.
"Left, right, left again. Twice he found himself
facing dead ends. Twice he did the 4-point spell and found that he was going too
far east, turned back, took a right turn, and saw an old golden mist floating
ahead of him. But who's round the corner? Voldemort!
And then the moment we've all been waiting for: the
conflict between Harry and Voldemort. And Rowling doesn't let us down.
*Cut to grave yard*
The end of this book is disturbing. It's threaded it's
way through the pages, and now it's come to the surface... and it's leeching
(?).It's in the grave yard that death finally comes to Harry's world when a
major character is killed. No one expected perfection, but now there's a
chilling prospect that everything that is wonderful about Harry's world could be
wiped out. A civil war between good and evil wizards, provoked by Voldemort.
Like a modern day terrorist, he's ready to strike when
you least expect it. Harry is trapped between the grave stones in near Riddle
House, and is forced to take part in a horrific ritual, the key ingredient of
which is Harry's own blood.
All the threads are neatly tied together at the
ending, but, at the same time, it leaves you desperate to know what happens
next. That's because the Goblet of Fire is the turning point in all the Harry
Potter books, it's also why the last chapter is called "The Beginning". Harry
has entered an adult world and is not longer a child. Even Voldemort is
transformed, less a pantomime villain, more a fully fledged gothic monster. What
happens here is pivotal to the series of books.
Harry Potter is changed forever.
*Shots of moon with heartbeat*
*Cut Hedwigs theme and bedroom scene*
I get really annoyed when people put the success of
Harry Potter down to hype and Hollywood. Look, I don't believe that is what's
bought millions and millions of people to these books. It's about that magic of
reading. A totally unique phenomena. There has never been a best seller like
this before. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has completely reinvented
children's writing. It's so much bigger and darker. It's far more complex. And
when you read it, which I really urge you to do, it will change the way that you
look at the world. Nothing is ordinary any
more. Everything has potential. Harry has made the world so much more fun to be
in. Now that's what I call a magic trick. Clever boy, Harry.
*Goblet of Fire book flying off towards moon*
*Cut to studio*
Presenter: Faye Ripley on the magic of Harry Potter and
his Goblet of Fire. But are you as charmed as she is - has Harry cast his spell
over you? Or will you be casting your vote elsewhere? Well with wave of my magic
wand I can see what children have been voting more so far.
Top 5, Under 16 votes
Lord of the Rings
His Dark Materials
Winnie the Pooh
Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy