I think there is a sliding scale in that the more you love a book, the more difficult it is to pick out why. I’ve been pondering my favourite elements of Harry Potter for the last week, and I’m sure that tomorrow I’ll be wanting to change the bits I pick for this post.
So I’m just going to dive right into it.
Sidebar: If you haven’t read the Harry Potter series, or seen the movies, or not talked to anyone in the last fifteen years, I suggest not reading this post for spoilers.
Favourite Book of the Series
I thought I’d go for the big one first. With seven books in the series, it’s understandable that people have different favourites. Admittedly, I had to sit and consider this for a while, as I have plots I love from all of the books. In the end, I kept coming back to this one.
The Goblet of Fire.
I think Goblet of Fire is my favourite, in part, because it was the first book I read over and over. I got into the HP series just as GoF was coming out, and then we had an agonising two and a half year wait (Sorry, Song of Ice and Fire fans, your waits are worse.)
Goblet of Fire is the first of the bigger books, and it’s also the book before teenage angst and paranoia completely takes over Harry. I love the wider exploration into the wizarding world through the Quidditch World Cup, and the different cultures in the Triwizard Cup.
I could honestly go on about this for a college sized essay, so I’m going to stop there. It’s my favourite.
An odd decision, out of all the ‘favourite’ things I could have picked. However, picking a location is one of my big things for Harry Potter because it informed my writing a hell of a lot.
I started writing by writing Harry Potter fanfiction and play-by-post roleplaying within the HP world. So, exploring the locations was a big part of my early writing.
The Ministry of Magic
The Ministry of Magic is not explored nearly enough in my opinion. Even in fanfiction, roleplay, etc, most are focussed around Hogwarts. Personally, I find the MoM far more interesting. They have an experimental charms and potions department. How many stories are buried in that vault?
You could easily spent a hundred short stories exploring the daily lives of people in the different departments. There are so many wonderful ideas that I’d love to explore, even after fifteen years of writing.
Favourite Dialogue Quote
“Well – it’s just that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that I am going to – what is the phrase – ‘Come quietly.’ I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course – but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing.”
Dumbledore is so cool! There are a dozen quotes I could have chosen here, and practically all of them are from Dumbledore. So, I chose this one, not because it is the deepest, or the most eloquent, but because it’s the most indicative of his character.
Favourite Narrative Quote
Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, ‘It unscrews the other way.’
There are some wonderful descriptions in Harry Potter, quotes that make me chuckle or hold back a sob. (Yes, I’m a sap, we’ll deal with that later.) But the reason I chose this one is because, for me, it showed McGonagall perfectly.
For the first four and a half books, we see McGonagall as a stern stickler for the rules. Yes, she has her loves and her beliefs, but she always cements them in the rules. Even up until this point in book five, she has been fighting against Umbridge in a way that has been strictly within the confines of the rules. She mocks Umbridge wonderfully, but she never truly steps out of line.
Here, we see her driven to the end of her tether, and finally abandons the rules, even if it’s in a small way. McGonagall is a fantastic character, and this, for me, captured her determination to protect the school and its students perfectly.
It is a toss up here, but seeing as Albus has been in two segments, I’m going to go with my other one: Remus Lupin.
I always felt there was more about Remus that would have been interesting to know. He’s had a horrible life, adding his werewolf affliction to the fact that he blamed himself for his friend’s death for twelve years. He thought it had been Sirius, and in one swoop he lost everyone he held important in his life, the only people who had truly accepted him.
Honestly, I can’t completely explain why I love Remus so much. Perhaps because he’s the quiet, bookish one. Or because he’s obviously got a completely deviant side in creating the Marauder’s map with James, Sirius, and Peter.
I just love him!
This is a bit of an odd question, but seeing as there were quite a few big deaths in Harry Potter, (as well as quite a few meaningless ones, I still haven’t forgiven her for Remus Lupin,) I thought picking my favourite would be a good idea. Of course, by favourite, I mean the one that affected me the most. Not the one I was happy had been offed.
My favourite death in the series is Albus Dumbledore’s. His death was both sudden and drawn out. The scene in the cave where he is reliving his worst memories brings me to tears. Here is a man who has done more than most will ever accomplish. He is ridiculously smart and talented, and yet here he is, scared and vulnerable.
To balance that against the Lightning Struck Tower and his conversation with Draco, you realise that Albus really does understand Draco. It isn’t until later you see exactly how similar Albus and Draco could have been. Both prominant families, both with dreams of grandeur, both drawn too far in and regretting it.
Of course, then you have Snape, and it all just gets worse. Dumbledore seemingly returns to that scared and vulnerable aspect of himself, and in all honesty, I believe it. Dumbledore is a lot of things, and while he claims death is the next great adventure, I don’t believe he was truly ready in that moment. Seeing that last truly human fear in him was very poignant for me.
Moving on from Harry Potter, next week I’m going to do My Sister’s Keeper. I love the book, hate the movie, and next week I’ll be picking out the reasons why.