Author Stuff, Life & Stuff, Writing Tips

What I Learned from the Harry Potter Series

As a writer:

Detail

Detail is key. Not George R. R. Martin level of detail, right down to the petal detail on every flower in a meadow, but real detail. Character detail. Room detail. What people are really like and think about and talk about and do. Details matter; it makes the difference between a basic novel and a legendary franchise. Harry Potter will always, for me at least, be the perfect example of detail in the right amount for world-building and character.

Foreshadowing

I think the biggest thing that the HP books did that sets them aside is foreshadowing. Rowling is the queen of setting up foundations and leaving breadcrumbs all over the place for readers to find when re-reading the books for maybe the third, fourth, or fifth time. There are still theories and discoveries being made every day about the Potter universe, even after 11 years has passed since the last book was released! Now that’s detail and foreshadowing at its finest.

Characters

Another thing that came into play to make it a legendary series was the characters. And detail ties into this point, too. Not only does HP have a lengthy list of characters, but they all have unique features, a point to the story, and backstory too. They all have well thought out connections, history, likes and dislikes, behaviours, and appearance detail. In a nutshell, they’re all very REAL. And the main ones each go through real character developments throughout the series.

Rowling will always be one of the best authors because she doesn’t write characters, not really; she writes people. I will always be in awe of this and try to bring it into my own work.

As a human:

Pain and adversity

As a person reading the books, the biggest thing that HP teaches us is that pain and adversity are bearable. We can get through it. Harry comes from a god-awful upbringing yet he managed to make new friends and pick a family for himself (the Weasleys and the Order). HP shows us that no matter what we are made to go through, good friends and the courage to try again will help us through.

Friendship

The next thing that HP gave me was friends. I’m not alone when I say that you can pick up a HP book and feel like you’re with friends. As someone who doesn’t easily connect with people, and often feels alone or misunderstood, having these characters and a home within a book can really mean a lot. So, thanks, J.K.

Magic exists

This will always be a fantasy series for the ages. HP will not be forgotten in a hurry. This is because it is one of the only series to be able to get people of all ages and backgrounds believing in magic! Originally a children’s book, Rowling managed to make adults and child alike go bonkers over this story and its detail – and they still are to this day.

Like with the friendship element, the magic is something that can really sooth the soul. When times are hard (or even when they’re not), Hogwarts has a way of making you believe anything is possible. You can’t help smiling at the pages, filled with emotion, wishing with all your might that your Hogwarts letter will still arrive even when you’re now in your twenties!

Never give up

Both the books and Rowling herself taught me that you should never give up. She went through hardships herself and so did Harry (and co.) but what they both didn’t do was give up. They easily could have done, but look what they would have missed out on if they had! Rowling would be depressed and poor; Harry would have been…dead and the wizarding world would be ruled by a Dark Lord…eek!

I could go on and on about the lessons of Harry Potter, but I just wanted to write a quick appreciation post because as a fantasy author myself and a fan of the franchise, I just couldn’t imagine life without it. I’ve been re-reading the books, so expect more posts like this!

Ciao, fellow Potterheads!

 

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