The Potter series does an excellent job of getting readers to identify with Harry and the other key characters in the story.
the Big Three. They are all basically decent and admirable in a moral
sense, valuing honesty, loyalty, friendship, and fairness. At the same
time, they aren’t saccharine, but are capable of stepping around
arbitrary rules in order to achieve a lofty goal—including the pursuit
of happiness by sneaking off to Honeyduke’s Sweet Shop.
addition, none of the Big Three are exactly perfect. They each have
their flaws (Ron’s insensitivity, Harry’s laziness, Hermione’s
perfectionism), and these imperfections make them more accessible, more
believable as human beings.
The Big Three are also capable of
making mistakes, sometimes rather large ones. They solve the mystery of
Book 1, for example, but do so erroneously, blaming Snape right up to
the moment when Harry pulls the cards out of the little folder, and
discovers it wasn’t Mr. Mustard after all.
their place, as do pure heroes like Superman, but the Potter series
demonstrates the powerful draw of heroic-but-flawed characters. We
identify with the Big Three because being like them (spell-casting
aside) seems both possible and desirable.
Looking for more help on the craft of fiction? Check out our Elements of Fiction series:
- Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
- Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham
- Description by Monica Wood
- Plot by Ansen Dibell
- Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
- Conflict, Action, and Suspense by William Noble