10 Things I Learned From J K Rowling, Part 3

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your humble host

I’m reading Harry Potter and trying to see what all the fuss is about. Is it great storytelling? Part 1, Part 2)

Chapter 3 and more

There are erroneous ambiguities and some reactions before actions moments, which I hate (uncle Vernon had to wrestle Dudley to the ground to get the letter, which [the letter?] was made difficult by the fact that Harry  had grabbed uncle Vernon around the neck from behind) – Harry should grab Vernon and THEN Vernon should react.

But the mystery continues. Another letter, and Harry is hatching a plan. So now we have suspense, too.

Chapter 4

Hagrid’s story about Voldemort sounds a little Star Wars ish, including a reference to the dark side.

Gasp!

Is  Voldemort really Harry’s father???

After all, Harry was raised by his uncle, like Luke. And Luke can’t wait to go to the academy. And in each story we are told the bad guy killed the good guy’s father…

Could Harry Potter be Star Wars for kids? (I don’t know; remember, I haven’t read a word of this book or seen any of the movies until just right now.)

And although it’s VERY tell-y…

…one mystery is answered and another is revealed. That’s good story telling. REALLY good. That’s what I’d tell everyone writing anything.

Oh, and this will really set everyone off. The story smacks of racism.


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I know, I know. It’s not. (You guys know me; I’m not the kind of *sshole to say stuff like that just to be provocative.) But the constant denigration of muggles by wizards and wizards by muggles… they resent each other simply for the way they were born. Can’t say I like it. And so far  the ones with more innate powers, the wizards, really seem to look down upon the others because they don’t have powers. They’re different. They’re lesser.

Change it to men and women or blacks and whites or handicapped and it’d reek. But let’s see where it goes. I don’t look for that shit but I don’t turn my head when I sense it, either. I’m quick to physically step in to protect others, as I’ve noted in the past. So like I said, let’s see where it leads. It made me very uncomfortable reading it, that’s why I said something.

Okay, back to our analysis of the storytelling.

And then another mystery, why did Hagrid get expelled from Hogwarts? But in good storytelling fashion, we are left to wonder – and to start our REAL journey.

Chapter 6 and 7 after 5 and 4

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ugh. i suck at selfies

Finally, the description of Hogwarts castle – the reason I started reading this book. Allegedly.

… a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain other side, it’s windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.

Not much description there.  Pretty much everything left to the imagination.

Good. I probably would’ve  described the hell out of it.

…the great castle overhead. It towered over them… cliff on which it stood.

…a flight of stone steps … the huge, oak front door.

img_8776That’s it. For now.

Chapter 7

Describing the inside of the castle helps you re-imagine the outside.

The entrance hall was so big you could have fit the whole of the Dursley’s house in it. The stone walls were lit with flaming torches like the ones at Gringott’s, the ceiling was too high to make out, and a magnificent marble  staircase facing them to the upper floors.

… flagged stone floor.

… hundreds of voices from a doorway to the right.

… the Great Hall. (Now our imagined castle stretches in our minds again) It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles that were floating in midair over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering gold plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting.… The hundreds of faces (of the other students) staring at them… Harry looked upward and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars….

It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn’t simply open on to the heavens.

See how she did that? How she gave us a little information about the castle and then added some later?

She didn’t take two pages to do all at once – which would have been very boring. She wrapped it inside the AWE the characters were having about it.

Brilliant storytelling. 

Okay, I’m on my way to being a fan.

A nice bit of tension as he waits his turn with the hat. He’s afraid, and all throughout this, is given the chance to be shown as shy and withdrawing. Afraid he will be sent away as a fraud, embarrassed and humiliated. Always picked last for gym. Instead, the whole place is cheering and excited that he’s even there, and his group cheers, ecstatic to have him. So he’s gone from loner loser to nearly a hero.

Chapter 8

Dives deeper because he so fascinated that we don’t mind. We want to dive deep into magical things now.

Imagine a chart with a flat line on it, and another line underneath bouncing up and down like an ekg. That’s what a visual description of storytelling would look like.

The things we readers  know and don’t need to have explained versus things we don’t know and either need explained  or want to have explained.

Yep. Good stuff. She got me this far and I’m enjoying myself.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion. Is it great story telling? Let’s find out.

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your humble host

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

13 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned From J K Rowling, Part 3

  1. I too have never read Harry Potter nor seen the movies so this is of great interest to me. I’m not a fan of ‘magical’ in general, hence why I’ve never read it, but I have to admit to the curiosity that has led you on this journey. Thanks for the great summary 🙂

  2. I’ve read all the books and it is driving me CRAZY to keep from explaining the answers to you, but I know it’s important to let you read from scratch. It’s fascinating to see how different your perception is than mine was — I’m really enjoying these posts.

    1. I’m so glad! And I have finished reading the first book now, but my posts aren’t posted yet for it. If that makes sense. So by Thursday the first book is complete. I have started on the second book now and won’t have anywhere near as many notes for it as I did for the first one. So if you want to send me some information privately, use the contact me button! I’d be happy to have it!

      1. At this point, I can’t remember what happened in the first book versus the second, etc., so I worry about anything I say being a spoiler. So I’ll just sit on my hands and listen. 🙂

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