When I first read the Goblet of Fire, it was one of my favorite of the series. This time around, I didn't really want to read it. Its length really hurts it. I was going through the beginning of the book thinking, "they're not even in school yet!" It made me feel like it was going to take forever to finish it. The main problem is, and I'm not the first to say so, that once you've read it before, you realize that everything in it is an over elaborate set up just to get to the end. J. K. Rowling seems to think that you can't just have something show up at an important moment - you must first explain the thing so that it will "make sense" when you use it later. I guess she doesn't want something to seem like a macguffin, but I really don't see anything wrong with someone taking the time to explain stuff either while it's happening or after the fact. Pretty much the entirety of the Quidditch World Cup is set up for later elements of the story, and when you couple it with the fact that I really don't care about quidditch at all, it made this a difficult slog through.
On the other hand, there's one thing that surprised me a little on this repeat reading - the death was still just as emotional. Or, more specifically, Harry's reaction to it. While obviously I was not shocked this time around, reading about how Harry was dealing with the loss was just as painful to read as the first time around. It was much of the same when reading about what happened to Neville's parents. She's certainly an expert at tapping in to human emotion.
This was also the first time I noticed an inconsistency. At the end of the book, she says they are waiting for the horseless carriages to arrive. Shouldn't Harry have seen thestrals already at this point? I just looked it up online, and a wiki claims "Harry could not see them that June because he had not yet dealt with what he had witnessed." Sounds like an excuse to me.
Another minor thing that bugs me - why is the only female competitor the worst at pretty much every task?
As you would expect, the movie made a lot of cuts. There's no flashback sequence of Voldemort killing his father, no Winky, no Ludo Bagman, no veelas (or mention that Fleur is part veela), no Weasley twins losing money to Bagman or receiving money from Harry, no Percy, Charlie, or Bill, no Pigwidgeon, no blast ended skrewts or nifflers, no spider or sphynx in the maze, no S.P.E.W., and no Dobby.
Obviously, bringing back Dobby and creating Winky would have increased the cost of the movie, so I can understand leaving them out. Not to mention all the other house elves had Hermione tried to talk to them in the kitchens. I really hate the whole S.P.E.W. sublot, because I just don't understand what Rowling was trying to go for with this. Is Hermione supposed to look like a fool? Because she certainly does in my eyes. The only thing I can figure is that SPEW is supposed to be sort of like PETA - people who champion the rights of other species but bring it to an unhealthy amount of unreasonableness. Because I can't see that Rowling is trying to say "If people want to be enslaved, let them!" but I could see her saying that "Animals in service who are treated well do not need to be freed." I'm sure someone out there has analyzed this to death already - all I can say is for me, I'm happy to see it not mentioned in the movies.
Overall I think most of the cuts really just serve to keep the movie moving at a fast pace. I stayed interested throughout its considerable running time. There's also a few quick additions/changes to the story, and I love all of them. McGonagall teaching them to dance, finding out that Neville is a great dancer, and Snape punishing Harry and Ron for talking too much during a test are all fantastic. There's more Neville and Weasely twins in general, it feels like, and as much as I love those characters you will hear no complaints from me. I also got the distinct impression that the screen writer was in love with Hermione as a character. She's always the one giving Harry advice or worrying after him, while Ron mostly just sits there with a funny pout on his face, if he's even in the scene at all. As of this moment, I like the movie a lot more than the book.
At this rate I don't think I'll be finished my re-read before Deathly Hallows Part 2 is released in theaters. Oh well. With any luck I'll be in time for the home release.