If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Friday, November 30, 2012

So...I'm re-reading Harry Potter. Again.


And I want to go to Harry Potter world! I am desperate to see Hogwarts and the talking portraits and go into Hogsmeade to get some butterbeer. I’ve been there twice, but it’s never enough. Haha. I’m especially excited that at the rumors that they’re expanding.

 Since my daughter first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the age of eight—she’s twenty-two now—and convinced me I had to read it as well, I’ve been captivated by the wizarding world. JK Rowling managed to accomplish something few other authors ever have. Her characters affected the world in ways that people wouldn’t have dreamt a book could. Who out there has heard of Wizard Rock? Can you imagine writing a book that inspired a whole genre of music?

And think about Harry Potter World! They built a theme park based around those books!

As writers, we all strive to create characters that will have an impact on the world, so when we find a book like Harry Potter, we have to ask ourselves--what is it about those characters that inspire such fervent loyalty?

Harry himself is the reluctant hero—at theme we have seen repeatedly in great stories. He is loyal and brave and—most importantly—just a regular guy who often makes mistakes, despite   his wizard status. He has his gifts, but they aren’t so over the top that we can’t believe in them. He muddles through a lot, sometimes by the skin of his teeth (anyone remember the lake challenge during the tri-wizard tournament?) He needs his friends to survive and his loyalty to them is his strongest quality.     

Hermione and Ron are the perfect sidekicks, one smart, one funny, and both as fiercely loyal as Harry. The romance between them further adds to the story. Who out there wasn't rooting for them to realize their true feelings and get together? Who wasn't crushed when Ron stupidly chose Lavender Brown? One of my favorite scenes in the books was their first kiss, in the middle of the search for the final horcrux, because Ron thought to free the house-elves. It was awesome!! (Then again, I am a girl. I was also a huge fan of Harry and Ginny--although the Ginny in my head was way better than the one in the movie version)

 Voldemort is an excellent villain who has a believable agenda. We have a smaller villain as well though, so the story isn’t overwhelmed by Voldemort. Malfoy is the perfect foil to Harry--and a character anyone who has ever attended school can relate to. Even the characters without as much page time, such as Fred and George, Lupin, Dobby, the horrible Dursleys— are all SO alive and layered.

The fantastic setting of the story plays a huge role as well. What child since hasn’t secretly hoped for his Hogwarts letter? Who among us Potterphiles has not wished for an invisibility cloak or longed to go have tea in Hagrid’s hut and see his latest monsters?

So, my challenge to everyone is this--Using the HP books or any other books you’ve loved-- pick out the traits that make a character impossible to walk away from.  Tell us about a world you are so immersed in that it becomes a real place to you.  Give us the aspects of a great story that draw you in and keep you reading. IE: Harry Potter--The underdog vs. the evil overlord and how he triumphs.
In other words, what are your favorite books –but, more importantly, why? 

20 comments:

  1. I re-read Potter every year. I was actually a fan consultant on the Order of the Phoenix computer game!

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  2. I am totally making myself not re-read the books for 2012... it's been a lonely year...

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    1. haha...Yeah, I make myself skip a year every now and again. lol.

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  3. My favorite books are ones in the Agent Pendergast series by Preston and Child. He's a flawed character but so smart.
    I confess, I've only seen the Harry Potter movies. Never read the books. And I visited that theme park before they converted the Lost Continent into Harry Potter world.

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    1. I haven't read those. And, like other people have probably told you, the books are SO much better than the movies. They really aren't just for kids. :)

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  4. I re-read them last year around Christmas. It was the best. :) Those books are just fabulous!

    Ok, my favs are HP and The Belgardiad by David Eddings for much the same reasons: a young boy up against evil, coming into his own, being brave in the face of death and winning. And of course lots of magic! It's a classic formula and totally works for me - which is also probably why the original Star Wars trilogy is one of my favs. :)

    My guilty pleasure, romance/chick lit that I like, eg The Shopaholic series, Bridget Jones, etc, feature a quirky yet strong heroine and a brooding, smart (rich) hero. But the hero doesn't have to save the heroine. She's capable of dealing with her own issues.

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    1. Oooohh...I haven't heard of The Begardiad. I might have to check that out. I love YA, and I normally stay away from MG, but there's something about the combination of a young hero with a quest that always draws me in (IE: Harry Potter, Will from Subtle Knife, Jack from The Talisman).

      I am not a huge fan of chick lit--but my guilty pleasure would definitely be YA romance. For some reason, I can't get enough of teenagers falling madly (unbelievably) in love. haha

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    2. I love The Belgariad. I've been told it's High Fantasy. I don't know, but it's epic and easy to read and I totally love it. It's one of the few books I read in high school that I can still read. The first book is Pawn of Prophecy.

      I love anyone of any age falling in love. I'm a sucker for falling in love.

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  5. There's noting wrong with re-reading a great story. :)

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  6. i had a blast just reminiscing with your post! loooove hp! infamy!

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  7. This post is like reading my thoughts. I re-read Harry Potter about once a year, I always tell myself I'll leave it a little longer but I never do, I just can't resist! And I'm so jealous you've been to Harry Potter World, I really want to go! It sounds amazing :)

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    1. You haven't been there yet? You HAVE to go. It's really amazing. The Forbidden Journey is the coolest ride I've ever been on. SO amazing. Although, fair warning, if you get any kind of motion sickness DO NOT ride more than once.

      I just love the atmosphere there. It's especially pretty at night, with all the lights shining on the snowy rooftops of Hogsmeade. :)

      I really hope you get the chance to go!!!

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  8. great idea, i've read them all and loved them. wouldn't mind rereading...its been long enough since i've last done it :)

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  9. I have many favourite books but right now they are the Larklight series. Maybe for some of the same reasons everyone likes Harry Potter so well.
    The stories are about two ordinary kids - except they happen to live in space. They bicker like real brothers and sisters. They have no special gifts, aside from Art's creativity to get out of messes and Myrtle's fainting talent. They work hard and fight to over come the evil around them, and usually end up saving England in the process. At first glance Art and Mrytle are just two annoying kids who can't get along, but deep down they are much more complex and I love spending time with them.

    I am hoping to finish the Harry Potter books someday. I made it to the forth. I've seen all the movies as well.

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    1. You should definitely finish them. They get continually better as the series continues. I'll have to check out the Larlight series!

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  10. I only read the first two books, but I bought the whole collection last year. I hope to read and reread them all.

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)