Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Three Things Harry Potter Taught Me about Fantasy

1) Readers WANT to suspend disbelief.
How likely is it that Muggles would never, ever notice magical people living among them, dressing differently, talking differently, and often completely ignorant of incidentals like telephones, subways, and electricity? Readers can swallow anything given enough reason, and more importantly, they want to swallow the premise and be transported to another world. I don’t have to follow history or convention to make a fantasy world viable. My fantasy can have newspapers, books, solar heating, and indoor plumbing, yet no magic, gunpowder, or explosives.

2) Anyone can be a hero.
An eleven-year-old orphan who wears glasses and had a horrible childhood can still turn out to be a good person and even a leader. People never tire of rooting for the underdog and people will overlook flaws when they find the good. My hero owns slaves. My heroine IS a slave.

3) People love to hate the bad guy.
Villains cannot be TOO evil. Fantasy cries out for really evil antagonists. No one whines about Voldemort not being nice enough.

What did you learn from Harry Potter?


  1. Sometimes even a "bad guy" can turn out good in the end - the change that Harry's cousin Dudley made in the final book made me cry. :)

  2. Good point about Dudley! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. 1. Hermione Granger, it's important to be a smart gal, even greater when both of your best friends are as stubborn and hot-headed as Ron Weasley and Harry Potter.
    2. Everything is not what it seems and don't dismiss people you;ve judged by their outward appearance, you could be proven wrong: Neville was a shy boy; clumsy and forgetful and many people ignored him or bullied him , and then, right before our eyes, he grew into his skin, and became the Gryffindor he was meant to be, and proved himself to everyone by killing Nagini.
    3. Magic IS real. It's a simple magic, not as complex as the Harry Potter universe, but it's a magic that celebrates love and friendship and courage and chivalry. A really wonderful magic, that defies age, sexual orientation, rage, gender etc, and a magic that I'm grateful to be a part of.
    4. Wisdom, TRUE wisdom, comes from a simple heart, enjoying the simple things, and being thankful everyday, for your family and friends and life itself.
    5. Love is the most powerful weapon. "Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love."
    6. I can go on and on, but the thing that Harry Potter taught me, in the form of Loony Lovegood: "Don't worry. You're just as sane as I am."
    Everyone is insane. Everyone. There is absolutely no such thing as normal, and anyone who tells you otherwise, is just part of the Rotfang Conspiracy. Attagirl, Luna, Attagirl.