by Angela Maria Hart
Simply put, J.K. Rowling is a master at writing characters, descriptions, and creating worlds. Rowling’s writing ability is demonstrated in numerous ways all throughout the Harry Potter series. For instance, the reader sees everything through Harry’s eyes. When introduced to the magical mystical realm that is Hogwarts and everything that it encapsulates, the reader is unaware of all wizarding world rules and expectations that magical beings have. As Hagrid explains the world to Harry, the reader is learning as well. Similar to the reader, Harry has no preconceived notions or foundational knowledge of the wizarding world. Thus, he asks all the questions that the reader would want answered, allowing the story to move forward through dialogue without feeling contrived. This technique is utilized throughout all the novels. My favorite explanatory scene is when Harry learns Quidditch for the first time. The reader, in turn, also learns Quidditch.
Rowling was able to create a school for wizards that was different from anything else. She inspired a lot of other authors to write about the wizarding worlds. The characters are not tropes or caricatures in any way, they are each unique with different personalities and desires. While Harry’s obviously the protagonist of the series, his best friends, Ron and Hermione are also fully developed and help him achieve his goals. The other characters, Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Neville, Luna, and Dobby as well as many others are well written too. Most novels only have a handful of characters in which there is a protagonist, antagonist, and a few secondary storylines that run parallel as the plot progresses. The Harry Potter series has dozens of characters and magical beings all written to perfection.
There are quite a few characters who contribute to the storylines, yet Rowling includes them in a manner that allows understanding and can be easily followed. When a reader is just as emotionally invested in the secondary and tertiary characters as they are in the main character, that demonstrates wonderful writing. I will forever be a fan of Dobby and enjoyed his character immensely. The fourth movie does not depict his storyline, which is a travesty in my opinion, because when I’m reading The Goblet of Fire (and I have done so several times), I always laugh at the part in which he is wearing multiple socks and is dressed in every clothing style imaginable. Dobby is so sweet, he gives Ron and Harry Christmas presents and tries to help another house elf come to terms with her being let go from her servitude. He pops up throughout the entire novel and every time I saw his name, I smiled because I knew I was going to enjoy that particular scene. By having someone be so emotionally invested in additional characters aside from the protagonist, it demonstrates each character has depth in their own right and can stand alone without necessarily being thought of in conjunction with Harry. Their storylines may interweave, but in regards to differentiating them from one another, Rowling exceeded any and all expectations.
Each Harry Potter novel is five out of five stars. While the movies inspire a great deal of many people, the books will forever have my heart.