What Makes Harry Potter so Magical?

Why am I still a loyal Potterhead, five years after the last Harry Potter book was published? My alarm clock wakes me up with the chimes of Hedwig’s Theme. My future cat is already named Dobby. When I study abroad in England next semester, I’m buying a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the original, British version of Sorcerer’s Stone). I was vying for access to Pottermore before most people knew it existed. I have a Ravenclaw scarf and a pygmy puff.

What did J.K. Rowling do? Could a different author have created such a world, such a mania? My theory is that beyond the escape of Hogwarts and the stories she wove, she made characters that were distinctly real. I, for example, am Hermione Granger through and through. One of my best childhood friends was distinctly Neville-like. We all know Draco Malfoys, Luna Lovegoods, Molly Weasleys, and Remus Lupins—we interact with them on a daily basis in the form of our friends, enemies, families, professors, bosses, and mentors.

What our beloved J.K. Rowling truly understood was the importance of a fully fleshed out character. We all learned about round and flat characters in grade school, and were taught to focus on our few round characters in a story. But if you look at the characters in Harry Potter, you’ll find that the majority of them are round. And even if we don’t know every detail about them, Jo does—that’s where the magic lies.

-Olivia LeClair

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