1. HP and the Philosopher's (Sorceror's) Stone - that Stone is what the book's all about, finding it or taking it or keeping it safe.
  2. HP and the Chamber of Secrets - again, the book is all about the Chamber being opened and what happens then and who opened it.
  3. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - from very early on in the book, the existence of the escaped Sirius Black is what drives events, from the Dementors to the Grim to the dormitory breakin.
  4. HP and the Goblet of Fire - what's so significant about the Goblet? It appears for just a few short scenes IIRC. Why not HP and the Triwizard Tournament, or even HP and the Triwizard Cup if you want a physical object? Or even HP and the Yule Ball, aka Dating for Dummies: at least the Ball takes up a few chapters rather than just one or two scenes!
  5. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - again this is slightly odd, and surely HP and the Ministry Coverup would be a more relevant title. But still, this is the book that introduces us to the Order and its importance, and its members show up at all the key places in the story.
  6. HP and the Half-Blood Prince - I could think of more relevant titles, but Harry is learning a lot from the Prince throughout the book, and the revelation of his real identity connects up with the mega-event at the end of the book.
  7. HP and the Deathly Hallows - the learning curve is slow, but once we and the protagonists learn about the Hallows, it becomes clear that they're incredibly important and in a way the key to everything.

One title stands out among the seven for its apparent incongruousness and insignificance. Is there any record of why Rowling chose that title, or what other titles she considered?

  • 41
    I'd like to point out that the titles all reflect the central mystery of the book, and when looked at that way GOF isn't unusual. The central mystery of book 4 is: how did Harry's name get into the Goblet Of Fire?
    – DavidS
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:06
  • 3
    Order of the Phoenix is much more off than the GOF for me, Harry Potter and the Prophecy could have been another option.
    – Don_Biglia
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:39
  • 10
    "Goblet of Fire" is a much more interesting and exciting phrase than "Triwizard Tournament", at least until you've read the book and know what the Triwizard Tournament is.
    – TylerH
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:19
  • 2
    Eh... your premise is subject to a great deal of interpretation: (1) Is all about escape to/arrival at magical wizard land; (2) reaffirms belonging there; (3) is all about growth and milestones: puberty, new part, etc.; (4) is all about confronting the senseless death of a friend; (5) is all about joining the secret club within the secret club; (6) is all about shattering one's world; and (7) is all about walking away from the magical wizard school.
    – Lexible
    Sep 15, 2015 at 15:40
  • 6
    Because it's a goblet, and it's full of fire (disclaimer: I've never read the book or seen the movie)
    – Wad Cheber
    Sep 16, 2015 at 0:32

4 Answers 4


In an Entertainment Weekly interview, J.K. Rowling said

I changed my mind twice on what it 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. (emphasis mine)

  • 4
    Hello, riddler! :-) This is exactly what I was looking for. I doubt anybody will beat this unless they have an explanation of what 'that "cup of destiny" feel' actually means
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:01
  • 9
    A ‘cup of destiny’ is a relatively common term for a cup used to read tea-leaves. That ties in with Prisoner of Azkaban as well, where Harry sees the Grim (a figure of destiny if ever there was one!) in his Divination teacup. Probably more relevant to this quote, however, is that it’s also an alternative name for the Holy Grail, which fits better with the status of the Triwizard Tournament prize throughout the book. Sep 15, 2015 at 11:20
  • Do you have a similar quote for the OotP title, the second most incongruous?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 12:03
  • Huh. I thought I remembered hearing that she changed the name after the original title leaked, because for some reason they wanted to keep it a secret for longer. Sep 15, 2015 at 18:45

The first film is about the Philosopher's stone, yet you don't get to see it up to the end. Both the stone and the goblet are seen very shortly, near the end, and in the presence of Voldemort.

The fourth film is about earning the Goblet of fire in the tournament. And the story is all about that tournament and its prize, so I don't see anything unusual here.

Clarification: I was talking about the Triwizard cup.

The goblet is were students put their names in order to participate in the tournament, so it is present there all the time, and a part of the story all through the book, so it makes even more sense than the cup.

  • 8
    No, you're getting the Goblet of Fire mixed up with the Triwizard Cup.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 10:51
  • Isn't the Goblet of fire the prize for winning the Triwizard cup???
    – Calabacin
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:02
  • 7
    No, I'm pretty sure the Triwizard Cup is the prize and the Goblet of Fire is just what they put their names into at the start.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:04
  • Oops. You are right; the cup is both the prize and the portkey. But if that's the case, then the goblet appears all the time throughout the story, so it kind of makes more sense now.
    – Calabacin
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:13
  • 1
    Where does it appear all the time? It's standing in the Great Hall near the start, people put their names in, the champions are chosen, and then it's put away.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:22

Although there are great answers above I would like to add a bit more.

It was through the Goblet of fire Harry's name was entered into the Triwizard cup by Alastor Moody (Bartemius Crouch Jr.) on Voldemort's orders.

Also, because Moody turned the Goblet of fire into a port-key, Harry got transported to the Little Hangleton graveyard. This led (through Harry's blood) to Voldemort regaining his body.

Later on Harry used the goblet to return himself, with the body of Cedric Diggory back to Hogwarts.

So, by proxy, the Goblet of fire had a great deal to do with events that drove the story.

  • 9
    The Goblet of Fire is not the Triwizard Cup. It is only used at the beginning and then you're thinking of the cup.
    – ThruGog
    Sep 16, 2015 at 6:03
  • @ThruGog is right: you've made the same mistake Calabacin did :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 16, 2015 at 9:13

The Goblet of Fire is representative of the Holy Grail and the Tri-Wizard Tournament is reflective of the quest for it. Only those "chosen" or "worthy" can enter the Tri-Wizard Tournament as well as go on the quest for the Holy Grail. It's about the quest for immortality (and Harry is the "Seeker," (crazy right!?) as well as how we choose to define immortality. Do we literally live forever? Do we live eternally in Heaven (or any other afterlife for that matter, providing we reach it & it exists)? Or is it figurative and our legacy lives on forever through our love/sacrifice of ourselves for others (see the Christian parallels)? Immortality a theme in every book and the entire series, and thats why the GOF is the center book of the series. (Google "John Granger, Ring composition in harry potter"-Amazing..) Also, read about the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and note in GOF who is sitting at a large round table at the Yule Ball...) The parallels are endless (Character names). John Granger and Travis Prinzi are two men who have dissected the series on countless levels (and many other great pieces of literature very well). They've published a loooot of information I would highly recommend. Here is a great succinct article that explains it all! http://www.harrypotterforseekers.com/articles/elementsofarthur.php

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