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?