07 Thursday Mar 2013
Maybe she’d always been there. Maybe strangers enter your heart first and then you spent the rest of your life searching for them.
It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when Harry Potter didn’t exist. I grew up with each of the books in that series, and I wouldn’t want to have experienced them in any other way.
Yes, I’m going to talk about Harry Potter now. But I’m not going to talk about how wonderfully imaginative it is, or its complex plot, or how it covers everything from friendship to redemption to the power of love in the face of evil. J.K. Rowling does something else fantastic that’s hard to catch the first time you read the Harry Potter series. In a world as huge as the one Rowling has created, you get something that you don’t usually find in your typical chapter book—characters who don’t seem to play a big role, who only seem like they’re just in the background, until later on they reveal that they have worries and depths and lives that you don’t know about.
I’m talking about people like Mrs. Figgs. The old lady who babysat Harry a few times when was little, and was never heard from again (save from breaking her leg or something) for several years of Harry’s life. And why would you hear from her? She’s just a character who exists to show that Harry’s childhood was void of anyone he could really talk to.
Too often in books, the thing that draws a hard line between fiction and reality, is that most characters have a deliberate reason for existing, while the minor ones are background decorations. Nothing more, nothing less. When the Love Interest walks into the room, you can tell that that’s the person that the protagonist is going to end up with. There is usually a Best Friend character who’s there so that the protagonist can talk about their problems to someone, and maybe they’ll get thrown together with some leftover character too.