Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday is a Ghost

I am obsessed with Pottermore. It's quite sad, actually, because the way I feel about Pottermore also happens to be the way I feel about boys I crush on or good food; they're all worthy of my time. For those of you who aren't Harry Potter fans or live under a rock, Pottermore was created by J.K. Rowling as an exclusive site to browse previously unknown book contents and explore Harry's world along with him through each individual book. I could go on and on all day long about the lovely graphics (squee), enhanced dueling mechanisms (double squee), and the ability to be sorted into different houses (triple Ravenclaw squee), but today I want to share my new favorite aspect of the wonderful J.K. Rowling: her ghost plots.

One of Pottermore's features includes special readings from the author herself, which is every writing Potterhead's dream come true. What's more amazing than that is the fact that nearly every single character is revealed to have a detailed back story (I almost passed out when I read them) that never made its way into the books. Having secondary characters with excessive extra information was puzzling to me at first; Rowling had actually taken the time to draw out these elaborate stories for characters like Quirrel and McGonagall. Perhaps I'm the only one who is amazed by this, but it never crossed my mind knowing every single detail about lesser characters is actually important.

Rowling calls them ghost plots because, like a ghost, they seem to haunt to the living characters in her story. The most fascinating ghost plot of hers (as of now) centers around Professor McGonagall, who was raised in a divided household with a witch mother and a Muggle father and once was married; who knew? While it is not completely vital information to the story at hand, the idea of having ghost plots seems to branch out and give our characters a new sense of importance. We are able to say, well, while this character is not of the utmost importance, she is a well-rounded individual with more than just one dimension. Even if that's not your way of thinking, ghost plots can even leak into the bigger picture of your story.

I want to be able to say that I know my characters down to the nitty gritty, but without ghost plots, I don't see that I can. Sure, filling out a character template is nice, but is it really the same? Get to know your characters by expanding their stories.

Do you have any ghost plots that never made it into your story? Why or why not?