Main Characters: All from the previous. We still don’t see Prof. Lockhart or Prof. Quirrell though. And Prof. Lupin is pretty absent (but we will see him again!)
Harry and troupe are starting their 4th year. Percy is off working for Crouch Sr at the Ministry of Magic. Sirius is still hiding out, looking after Harry as best he can while hiding and in dog form. Wormtail is helping Voldemort come back. Hagrid, who we have confirmed is half giant, has a thing for Madame Maxime, the Beauxbaton’s Headmistress who is also half giant. Fred and George are all sneaky about something, but in the end it turns out that they are trying to get Bagman to pay up on their bet that they placed at the World Cup (Harry gives them his TWT winnings instead). Hermoine forms a friendship with Krum, much to Ron’s distaste. Harry likes Cho Chang, a Ravenclaw girl who dates Cederic. Sirius is hiding in a cave near the school and Hogsmede (at Dumbledore’s suggestion). Snape still hates Harry (and we learn that he too has the dark mark tattoo at the end, but he turned spy for Dumbledore at some mysterious cost that Dumbledore won’t divulge).
NEW CHARACTERS: Some of these we’ve already seen in passing, but not enough to have warranted mention before now.
Barty Crouch Sr. – Head of the Department for International Magical Cooperation. Helping coordinate the Quidditch World Cup and the Triwizard Tournament.
Ludo Bagman – Head of the Department of Magical Sports, former Quidditch player, and was once accused of helping to pass info to Voldemort (although he was doing it unknowingly and unintentionally). He tries to help Harry with the Tournament because he gets himself into some money trouble and has placed a bet on Harry winning to make up for it.
Barty Crouch Jr – Was, as a young man, accused of being a Voldemort Supporter. Turns out, he was. And, he spends, Harry’s 4th year as Prof Moody – thanks to a constant supply of polyjuice potion. He is the one who puts Harry’s name into the Goblet – so that he can get Harry to Voldemort so Voldemort can be resurrected. Minister Fudge has a dementor perform the kiss before Barty Jr can provide testimony to prove how Cederic died and that Voldemort is back.
Winky – a house elf who works for the Crouch family. After she lets Barty Jr. do some bad things, Barty Sr frees her and she goes to work at Hogwarts with Dobby. Although Winky is certainly not happy about being free.
Rita Skeeter – nasty mud slinging journalist who writes the most awful and as far from the truth stories she can just to be sensationalist. Also an unregistered animagus (beetle form) and that is how she continues to get on school grounds even when Dumbledore forbids her from being there.
Cederic Diggory – Hufflepuff Quidditch player and chosen Champion for Hogwarts, before Harry is also chosen.
Viktor Krum – Bulgarian seeker and Durmstrang student who is their chosen champion.
Fleur Delacour – the Beauxbatons champion.
Mad-Eye Moody – The real one is an ex-auror who was to come out of retirement to teach at Hogwarts at Dumbledore’s request. He’s scary good at being a dark wizard catcher and is a little paranoid too.
Karkaroff – a former Death Eater and head of Durmstrang. He flees at the end when the dark mark tattoo on his arm makes it clear that Voldemort returned.
Locations: Hogwarts, the Burrow, wherever in England the QWC happens, Hogsmede
Main Premise: There will be a tournament between three European schools during the year, the Tri-Wizard tournament. Normally, there are only 3 champions chosen, but someone puts Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire (which chooses the champions from each school) and Harry becomes the 4th (2nd from Hogwarts). They have to perform certain tasks throughout the year. They battle dragons to get an golden egg, have to go into the lake and battle the various lake creatures (giant squid, grindylows, merpeople) to get back a “treasure” (which turns out to be someone close to each champion), and get to the cup at the end of the maze.
It’s clear that someone wanted to put Harry in danger by entering him into the tournament. Harry gets through the maze, with Diggory (they have helped each other throughout the tournament) and it turns out that the cup has been made into a portkey. It takes Diggory and Harry to Voldemort’s father’s grave where Wormtail uses Harry’s blood (and other things) to resurrect Voldemort. Diggory is killed by Voldemort. Harry and Voldemort’s wands connect since they share the same core (Ollivander told us this in the first book) and that gives Harry just enough time to escape. Dumbledore makes Snape and Sirius call a semi-truce since they will need to work together to stop Voldemort. Voldemort has a biiiiigg snake called Nigini, that we meet in the Riddle house (in the opening chapter) and we see again in the end where Voldemort is reviewing which Death Eaters came back and which didn’t.
Other Important Things to Remember for Later: Fudge doesn’t want to believe that Voldemort is back. Wormtail used some of Harry’s blood in the spell to resurrect Voldemort. Skeeter is being blackmailed by Hermoine to not write terrible things for a year. Neville’s parents were tortured by the LeStranges. Malfoy is a death eater. Hermoine is campaigning for elf rights. Hagrid is off to somewhere on business for Dumbledore. Harry learned about the history of Crouch, Bagman (and others) through Dumbledore’s pensive, which holds thoughts and memories. Harry is being protected in ways even he doesn’t know. Harry can dream of things that Voldemort is actually doing.