Hi Virtually Readers! I recently finished the Harry Potter series, which I started rereading in January. It was great, obviously, and so I decided to make a list about why.
Quick note: This list doesn’t mean I think Harry Potter is perfect, the best book ever, and the only series I’ll ever love. It’s not. But since I prefer blogging about the good, and not the bad, of books, this is what we’re doing.
Also warning: spoilers ahead. There are two main ones, and in my opinion one is quite obvious and the other doesn’t really spoil much, but you have been warned.
- It’s funny. Harry is just a funny person. So is Ron. So are Fred and George. Dumbeldore is fabulously quirky, which I appreciated more with this reread. Even when times are serious, there is time for joking.
“But we’re not stupid. We know our names are Gred and Forge.” -Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
“Just then Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a canary”-Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Snape: “Yes sir”
Harry: “There’s no need to call me sir, Professor” – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- The dialogue is excellent. It’s engaging and realistic and easy to read.
- It’s fantastically complex. While Harry defeating Voldemort is obviously the main story arc across all the books, each book involves different subplots that are interesting of themselves and also contribute to the whole. For example, in The Prisoner of Azkaban there’s Lupins true identity, in The Half Blood Prince there’s Harry being obsessed with Malfoy and all the Malfoy subplots, there’s breaks for Quidditch, there’s Dumbeldore’s Army… the list could go on. Because there are 7 books, and at least 3 or 4 of them are over 500 pages, a lot can fit in.
- There are amazing side characters. Tonks. Lupin. Sirius. LUNA. NEVILLE (any Luna+Neville shippers out there?). Fred. George. Percy. Ginny. Dudley. Bellatrix. Again, because the stories are long, there isn’t a need to focus on a few key characters like standalones and contemporaries (though this can be good too). There can be lots of characters and plot.
- It uses fantasy to comment on real issues. For example, the idea that wizards are better than other magical creatures and what that means for discrimination I love the part in the Deathly Hallows where Harry learns from being kind to Kreacher. It’s a great moment. Especially in later books, the discrimination against Muggle-borns kind of reflects religious or racial discrimination. And everything about a lack of transparency in the Ministry of Magic, and how the government can be a force of good or evil—that’s something in our world too.
- The combination of traditional tales/folklore with new creatures. We all know about dragons and werewolves and vampires and mermaids and witches and giants. But Rowling combines these with new magical creatures like Blast-Ended Skrewts and Bowtruckles and Horcruxes. It’s a perfect blend of familiarity and originality.
- It’s diverse. While LGBTQ+ representation isn’t explicit, racial representation (gotta love those Patil twins, Dean Thomas, etc.) and arguably mental illness representation is all there.
- It’s not black and white. Harry isn’t perfect. Neither are Ron and Hermione. Harry has to overcome his own demons before he can face Voldemort. Later books describe Voldemort’s path to evil. He’s an amazing villain—so evil, yet also three-dimensional. Ultimately, love wins, and Voldemort cannot beat death. In the final battle, Harry starts calling him Riddle, which reminds us that he’s human, not superhuman. I could talk about this for hours, but I’ll attempt to restrain myself.
- It’s fantastic writing. I could write entire essays about this. ‘Nuff said.
Have you read Harry Potter? If no, leave. If yes, what do you like about it? What don’t you like? How do you feel about Nuna (Neville+Luna)? What’s your favourite book?