Using Harry Potter to Kick Characterization in the Ass

Harry Potter gave us tons of useful tools and spells we can use to evaluate our own original characters, see if they’re as well-rounded and fleshed out as we think. Take a character from your novel and think about the following questions. Writing down detailed responses, even expanding your answers into scenes, will help kick your creativity into overdrive, and might teach you something about your characters you hadn’t realized until now:

What Hogwarts House would your character be in? What traits do they have that match the House perfectly, and what traits clash? Would the Sorting Hat decide their House immediately or hesitate?

What would their Patronus be? What memories would they call upon to produce the spell?

What would be their favorite classes at Hogwarts? What about their least favorite?

What would they smell in the Amortentia potion?

What would be their Boggart? How would they make it comical in order to defeat it?

What memories would they store in a Pensieve? 

Which Deathly Hallow would they like to own?

If they were to make a Horcrux, what object in their life holds special enough significance to become the vessel for their shattered soul?

(that got dark, damn)

This is the best question, though: I’ve heard it said that you know a character is three-dimensional and well fleshed out if you can have a solid discussion about this:

What does this character see when they look into the Mirror of Erised?

This exercise can help you examine your characters psychologically — it’ll help you identify their strengths, weaknesses, what they triumph at, what they fail, what they yearn for, what they’re terrified of … Use that knowledge to build them better, more satisfying story arcs — Maybe what the Boggart becomes is a fear they need to face; or what they see in the Mirror of Erised is a wish they should spend the novel working to attain.

Have fun! And if you can think of anymore Harry Potter-related character questions, reblog and add them!

(Image Credit)

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