Throughout the three previous novels in the Harry Potter series, the main character, Harry Potter, has struggled with the difficulties that come with growing up and the added challenge of being a famous wizard. When Harry was a baby, Voldemort, the most powerful evil wizard in living memory, killed Harry's parents but mysteriously vanished after trying to kill Harry. This results in Harry's immediate fame, and his being placed in the care of his muggle, or non-magical, relatives Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.
Harry enters the wizarding world at the age of 11, enrolling in the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and is confronted by Lord Voldemort trying to regain power. After returning to the school after summer break, several attacks on students take place at Hogwarts after the legendary "Chamber of Secrets" 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 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.
The book opens with Harry Potter having a dream about Frank Bryce, the ex-caretaker at the Riddle family mansion, who is caught eavesdropping on a deformed Tom Riddle and his servant, Peter Pettigrew. In Harry's dream, Bryce is killed by Voldemort. Later in the summer, Harry, Hermione Granger, and the Weasley family take a trip to the Quidditch World Cup. While there, Death Eaters, Voldemort's servants, storm the grounds, harass some muggles, and run away when they see the Dark Mark in the sky.
Back at Hogwarts Albus Dumbledore announces during the welcoming feast that the school will host the Triwizard Tournament, an inter-school competition. One student from each of three magical schools will be chosen by the Goblet of Fire to compete. The other two magical institutions, Beauxbatons Academy, and Durmstrang Institute, arrive at Hogwarts two months into the school term. The champions chosen by the goblet were: Fleur Delacour from Beauxbatons, Viktor Krum of Durmstrang, and Cedric Diggory of Hogwarts. Mysteriously, Harry is also chosen, even though he did not submit his name, and is underage and ought to have been magically blocked from doing so. Ron Weasley is instantly infuriated, thinking Harry submitted himself, and their friendship suffers.
The new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor is Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody, a former Auror and Dumbledore's friend. He teaches his students the three Unforgivable Curses in class, a lesson which is illegal. Those curses are the Imperius Curse, which forces the victim to do the caster's bidding; the Cruciatus Curse, a spell that tortures its victim; and the killing curse called Avada Kedavra. Harry learns he is the only known person to have survived the killing curse, cast against him by Voldemort when Harry was a baby.
In the first task of the tournament, the champions each are to retrieve a golden egg from a dragon, which contains a clue for the second task. Harry completes the task with help from Rubeus Hagrid and Professor Moody. Following the end of the first task, Ron and Harry mend their broken friendship. The second tournament task requires retrieving something important taken from each champion hidden in the Black Lake. Ten minutes before the task, Harry is given gillyweed by Dobby the house elf so he can breathe underwater. Harry finds the four “important objects” of the tournament's contestants: Ron, Hermione, Cho, and Fleur’s little sister, Gabrielle Delacour. He is forced to rescue Gabrielle along with Ron when Fleur does not come, which causes him to lose the challenge, but he gain points for ‘moral fibre.'
One night after the second task, Harry and Krum are startled when a disheveled Barty Crouch, Sr. emerges from the forest, mumbling nonsense and demanding to see Dumbledore. Harry runs for help, but when he returns with Dumbledore, they find Krum unconscious and Crouch missing. Harry learns more about the Crouches when he sees one of Dumbledore's memories in the Pensieve, a memory storing tool. The memory shows Barty Crouch, Jr, a Death Eater, sentenced to Azkaban by Barty Crouch Sr for torturing Frank and Alice Longbottom (Neville's parents) into insanity.
The third and final tournament task involves navigating a large maze located on the Quidditch Pitch which is filled with magical obstacles. Harry and Cedric successfully help each other navigate the maze. They reach the Triwizard cup and agree to take hold of it simultaneously, making both of them the winners. The Cup turns out to be a portkey that transports them to an old graveyard in Little Hangleton. Pettigrew and a deformed Lord Voldemort, are there. Pettigrew kills Diggory, and ties Harry's hands and feet to the Riddle tombstone. He then uses a bone from Voldemort's father's grave, some of Harry's blood, and his own cut-off hand in a magical ritual that restores Lord Voldemort to a new body.
Voldemort summons Death Eaters, and reveals that a servant of his at Hogwarts ensured that Harry would participate in the tournament, win it, and thus be brought to the graveyard. Harry tries to disarm Voldemort with the Expelliarmus spell, at exactly the same time as Voldemort uses the killing curse. The two curses meet and interlock, causing a bond between the wands that displays the "echoes" (described by Dumbledore) of Voldemort's most recent murdered victims, including Cedric, James Potter and Lily Potter. The "echoes" provide protection to Harry, allowing him to escape with Cedric's body and leaving Voldemort behind in a rage.
Harry, carrying Cedric's body, returns to the school grounds. Moody rushes Harry to his office, where he reveals that he was Voldemort's servant, and attempts to kill Harry himself. Moody is stopped by Dumbledore, Severus Snape, and Minerva McGonagall. Dumbledore feeds Moody Veritaserum, and they discover that "Moody" is actually Barty Crouch, Jr., who was smuggled out of Azkaban and was using a Polyjuice Potion to impersonate the real Alastor Moody. Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic, arrives at Hogwarts accompanied by a dementor. When the Dementor enters the room where Crouch, Jr. stands, it swoops down and gives him the “Dementor’s Kiss”, sucking out his soul. Fudge refuses to believe Dumbledore's and Harry's word that Voldemort is back.
Harry is crowned Triwizard Champion and awarded with 1,000 galleons. Days later, Dumbledore then makes an announcement at the gloomy Leaving Feast, telling everybody about Voldemort and saying that to deny the true way Cedric died would be 'an insult to his memory.' While leaving the Hogwart’s Express on King’s Cross Station, Harry gives his winnings to Fred and George to start a joke shop and Harry sets off for another summer at the Dursleys'.
Rita Skeeter subplot
Rita Skeeter, a writer for the Daily Prophet, spends much of the story writing lies about Harry (about the time his scar hurt after a strange dream in Divination), Hagrid (about the time he told Madame Maxime about his mother), and Hermione (in love with Viktor Krum). Skeeter carries out secret interviews with Slytherin students to get the fodder for some of her stories, but the sources for others are inexplicable. Initially, Harry suspects that she has an Invisibility Cloak, but Hermione knows that "Mad Eye" Moody would have been able to see through the cloak with his magical eye. Next, Harry thinks that she may have had areas of the school bugged. However, Hermione tells them that electronic devices do not work in Hogwarts because of the magic in the air. Near the end of the book, Hermione finally realises how Skeeter was doing this: she is an unregistered Animagus and can turn into a beetle. Harry and Ron realise that there was a beetle on the statue near Hagrid's hut, and later in Hermione's hair after the second task, and on the window of Divination class when Harry's scar hurt, and that the Slytherins knew about it all along. Hermione eventually traps Skeeter, in beetle form, in a jar and does not release her until the train reaches London.From Wikipedia
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