Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Why is Harry Potter so Good?

He's just a dorky, sometimes whiny British teenager, so why are the Harry Potter books so good?
The writing is usually very formulaic. So why is it so good?
Many characters are just tropes and stock characters. So why are they so engrossing?

Lots of good questions. I really don't know the answers, but J.K. Rowling really put out something quite cool. I read the first good while in high school and liked it, reading it very quickly, really wanting to know what happened next. And I guess that's the first an most important part- the entertainment, really being hooked by the story no matter how forulaic, outrageous, or improbable. That is why foreshadowing is such a big part of Rowling's formula. Just wanting to know what happens next will keep you reading and eventually lead to some link with the characters. That link, like, or even empathy for the characters is the second thing that makes HP so good for me. Harry is a real person with real reactions and desires. He is not altruistic, but human and this makes his character more identifiable. You want to know whats gonna happen not only against Voldemort, but in quidditch and in his evolving love life. You want to see Hermione and Ron get together. You want to see Neville succeed. You want to see Percy realize what a bitch he is. And then when back stories are glimpsed, it just fuels your fire both to read on and become further attached to the characters. My third reason why Harry Potter is so good is the general subject matter, magic. It is something new to me and very interesting. It's fun to learn what classes Harry will be taking. It's fun to learn all about spells and magically creatures completely foreign to us. All the new things just touched upon you want to be elaborated. You want to know the history of the Black family and learn why Harry can speak like a snake.

Yeah, so I didn't expect to like Harry Potter so much. I'm still not totally sure why, but these were a few of my reasons. Rowling uses an attractive subject matter mixed with good story telling with tons of foreshadowing to hook the reader. And having 7 books helps for the great character development and emergence of back story and new characters. So basically the more you read the more you like it because the long series allows for better writing and character and plot growth. Nothing amazing on the surface, but put it all together and it works wonders.

I think I've reach a whole new level of dorkiness writing an analysis of why I like Harry Potter. My next post might as well be about Dungeons & Dragons.
Actually a future post will be about Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings. See? Dorkdom.

P.S. I once told a friend that I think I would have made a good wizard.

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