Saturday, July 16, 2011
You all know by know that the final Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter 7.2 as people at my work like to call it) has come out. It would officially bring the end of to the Potter world except its creator came up with something called Pottermore.
Today at lunch my family was discussing the Potter series. I mentioned something about how some professor somewhere had created a Pottermania college class. Where isn't really important. It's college. Pottermania. In. College.
The Boy Who Lived Becomes The Boy Most Read
The potter series does hit on a lot of psychological archetypes. That's why it hits home to so many readers. Wether or not they connect to "The Boy Who Lived" there are enough characters in the series that most readers, especially young ones, can identify. Who hasn't wanted to punch the rich, uppity kid in the nose like Hermione did to Malfoy? You may not admit it but did you experience that awkward relationship stage like Harry and pretty much every other character he came into contact with, especially girls he was attracted to? Did you know a Luna, someone in you school who thought a little more outside the box? What about a Neville, the quiet, loyal intelligent guy who didn't have the self-esteem or whatever it takes to really shine until when it really counts? Then there's the Crab and Goyle (sp?) the dim wit thugs. Come on, my school had at least a dozen of them. They're not always large but they are always dim and cruel.
Like Harry, Want To Be Like Harry
Harry is the ideal of what everyone always wants to be when they are growing up, awkward and going to school. He's got the talent, the scars (and we know chicks dig scars), he's a jock and a bit of a geek too. He gets it all and the chance to spit in the face of ultimate evil. In some way we all imagine ourselves a little bit like Harry. Or at least we would if we had a wand made from phoenix feather, a broomstick faster than any other and a lightning bolt scar on our forehead. So maybe we don't ALL want to be Harry but J.K. Rawling in her crafting of the Potter world created characters that we relate to. Because of that, many manic fans will have a large empty void in their hearts similar to when I don't get to eat the last bite of tri-tip. Come on, "You would cry too if it happened to you."
Lunch Topic: Do you think J.K. Rawling did it on purpose?
Yes: I'm sure she wrote based on her experiences in life and in school. Perhaps she knew some punk rich kid named Luke Foy, spruced up the name a bit added "mal" Spanish for bad, to "Foy" and came up with Lucious Malfoy. (I spelled it both ways because I don't know how she spells it.)
No: I don't think she looked up psychological archetypes and thought "How can I get 'Racial Outcast' 'Class Outcast' and 'Orphan' all together as friends?" She probably thought, "How can I create characters that fill a role in the story and feel real to my reader?"
I Knew Dumbledore Had To Die
Archetypes are great for writers. They help the story move forward because we, the writers, know what to expect from them and what we want out of them. That's why I knew 2 books ahead of time that Dumbledore was going to die. He had to as part of Harry's "journey into manhood". You can hate me for saying it and Rowling for doing it but it's true nonetheless. Obi Wan had to die and so did Dumbledore.
Archetypes played a large role in Rowling's success. But that was just part of the formula. You need to throw in her creativity and writing before you get success.