Oh yes, you’ve all heard of Gandalf, and I’m sure all of you fantasy writers dream of someone of his magical prowess in your own books (be warned, such ambiguous wizardry is a difficult beast to tame), but what is it about him that captivates readers of the Lord of the Rings? His seemingly boundless powers? His vociferous nature? His exquisite fireworks? Or is it something altogether more subtle? J. R. R. Tolkien’s spontaneously regenerating, sardonically witty wizard is worth a wonder over.
Just to put your minds at ease, I have been very careful to avoid all spoilers for fans of both the books and television series.
Tyrion Lannister is most people’s favourite character (and in everyone’s top three) in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, as well as in the HBO adaptation Game of Thrones. But what is it about him that lures readers and watchers? What magic is his wonderfully crafted character emanating to captivate us so?
The success of the Harry Potter series can be attributed to many different things. In my opinion the biggest factor was the complete and varied universe the JK Rowling created within our own world. But, to me, the most magical world ever imagined would mean next to nothing without interesting characters to fill it. One of the reasons that Harry Potter was, and is, so important to me was those characters.
I’d like to start my character study of Severus Snape by giving Rowling one of the best compliments I can give: I don’t like Severus Snape. Just to be clear, I don’t like him as a person. The character is brilliant. The reason I consider this such a huge compliment is that many other people love him as a person. You will recognise that this is true about pretty much every real person who has ever lived. The fact that readers can look at the same words on a page and take away different things about a character tells of a fantastically talented author. Even after reading many other ‘more adult’ series, I still consider the Harry Potter series to have the largest number of distinct, real characters – characters who would pass the “they would never say that” fan fiction test.