“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is not the first time, nor the last, that J.K. Rowling seems to have dealt with title issues, merely the most elongated and publicized one. Before “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was rebranded as “Sorcerer’s Stone” for American audiences, Rowling fought to prevent her inaugural work from being published anywhere under the lackluster title “Harry Potter and the School of Magic.” Several years later, Rowling considered “Harry Potter and the Peverell Quest” and “Harry Potter and the Elder Wand” as viable titles for what eventually became “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
Book titles are difficult. They have to compress an entire story into a few catchy words. They have to reveal genre, suggest tone, and pull a reader in, and the best ones do all of the above without coming off like an obvious marketing ploy. For Rowling, at least, there was an established system in place for structure. By the time “Goblet of Fire” came into existence, she’d already published “Harry Potter and the X of Y” twice. It was just a matter of finding the right key terms to plug in to hook readers.
Given that her series has sold upwards of 600 million copies at this point, though, it’s safe to assume audiences are perfectly fine with a little formulaic title work. For better or for worse, the “Harry Potter” franchise is consistent. If we’re being totally honest, though, “Goblet of Fire” is an incredible name.