Everybody loves animals, even fictional ones. Whether they’re surviving fires or starting them, biting or putting up with the protagonists, or really good sports about villainous mistreatment, these animals are in it for the long haul. Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order.
1. Buttercup – The Hunger Games
Gif via Giphy
This cat’s been through a lot. Bombings, attempted murder, living underground. I’ve never even known a cat who could stand a closed door. Nothing impresses Buttercup. All he wants is to have his head pet and maybe some fresh entrails.
2. Drogon – Game of Thrones
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Who doesn’t want a dragon? Personally, I’d rather be able to breathe fire myself, but this is a close second. Our boy got LORGE. Plus, he survives the game of thrones. What’s not to like? I’d ask where my dragons are, but there’s no missing them.
3. Hedwig – Harry Potter
Gif via Giphy
She bite! Sure, Hedwig might not be the cuddliest of pets, but she can find anyone on the planet earth, and isn’t that worth more? Dignity, messengerial integrity, spots, she’s got it all. Plus, she survives longer than about half the human characters. Too soon? It’ll always be too soon.
4. Toto – The Wizard of Oz
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Have we left Kansas? Doesn’t bother her. Tornadoes, witches, Toto’s not afraid of anything. It’s also revealed in later books that Toto, like most animals in Oz, is capable of speech. She’s just not much of a talker. Still, her tendency to bite witches speaks loudly enough.
5. Max – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Gif via Giphy
Has any pet ever put up with more? From the indignity of having to wear just one large antler, to the logistical challenge of having to pull an entire sleigh, Max always does his best to make the Grinch happy. One hopes he got a large helping of roast beef for his trouble.
It’s J.K. Rowling’s birthday, and, since she’s THAT author, that means it’s also Harry Potter’s birthday! Not the series, the titular character. Since he’s our chosen one, well, I’m celebrating, you’re celebrating, everyone is celebrating! And some of us have taken a break from binging the Harry Potter movies or speed-reading through the series to Tweet ‘congrats’ to our favorite boy who used to live under the stairs.
So since we’ve looked away from our pages and our screens, let’s stare at the article on this screen and look through the Top Ten Best Harry Potter Tweets.
Not to bring the mood down, but if you want to ride the real-life Hogwarts Express that was used for the movies, then you can ride the West Highland Line. Seriously.
The West Highland Line was used for the movie. If you like it, recommend it to friends or become a member of The Friends of the West Highland Lines, a community group and media organization that seeks to direct funding toward service improvements and making sure the line stays running. If you want more information, check out our article on it here.
This week, Bookstr has decided to give you a special treat! To celebrate both Harry Potter’s and J. K. Rowling’s birthdays, we have decided to give you the definitive list of the best, the coolest, the most magical, books with wizards, witches, magic, or all three!
So take out your wand and whip out your flaming sword, here’s are five books that have pages racked to the brim with spells-galore!
The history of this trilogy doesn’t need to be reiterated, from Tolkien’s belief that fantasy isn’t just for children to Jackson’s monstrously huge trilogy to Amazon’s current ‘in-development’ prequel adaptation, but what does need to reiterated is how AWESOME this series is.
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With two wizards to boot, plus an assortment of creatures from devilish orcs, angelic elves, grumpy dwarfs, rambunctious hobbits and a world filled with giant spiders and talking trees, this series has no shortage of magic and wizards that’ll keep you turning page after page.
What’s more magical than the Greeks Gods themselves?
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The first part of the Camp Half-Blood chronicles follows a teenage Percy Jackson who lives in the modern world. The twist? He’s a demigod, and he’s off to Camp Half-Blood.
Along the way, he discovers that not only are there other demigods like him out in the world, but he’s the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, earthquakes, and father of all horses. Does that make all the horses of the world his half-brothers?
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In addition, Percy also learns that his best friend is actually a satyr (a half-goat, half-man). With the first novel focusing on Percy uncovering a conspiracy against him, things couldn’t seem to heat up anymore.
But they do. As the series goes on, we get characters from Greek and Roman mythology, from Titans to Gods to demigods to pegasi and many more mythical creatures, this is a series that any magic fan wouldn’t want to miss.
Now if you plan to check out this series for the first time, just do yourself a favor and pretend the movie adaptation doesn’t exist.
If you didn’t, you had no childhood worth acknowledging.
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A contemporary and best frenemy of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis’s seven book series might have jumped around when it came to the timeline, but since the series has been done and over with since 1957 you can start at the creation of Narnia with The Magician’s Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.
What other series can boast that it goes through the history of an entire world, including it’s creation and destruction?
If this seems a tad overwhelming, don’t worry. With magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, Narnia is a fantastical realm, and the words on its pages ship you off to another realm the way the wardrobe and the paintings do the same to the characters.
You might have heard of them, but The Worst Witch is a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Jill Murphy. First published in 1974 by Allison & Busby, the series focuses on Mildred Hubble, a young witch who attends Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches, an all-female boarding school of magic.
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Well-intentioned but clumsy, Mildred often finds herself in disastrous situations, leading to her being labeled as the worst student in the school.
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Each book in the series focuses on each individual two-term school years. With eight books in the series published, the most recent published in 2018, these stories about finding your place in the world is relatable to those of all ages, even if they aren’t magically inclined.
1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Did you seriously expect anything else?
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Not only is it J.K. Rowling’s/Harry Potter’s birthday, but in addition to her many witches and wizards…
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Image Via Seventeen Magazine
…she’s got so many magical creatures in her books, it’s insane!
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Check out the list here for the most obscure ones. Or have you been drinking too much butterbeer?
For those unaware, middle-grade fiction is fiction aimed at readers between the ages of eight and twelve whereas YA, or Young Adult, is fiction aimed to readers who are thirteen to eighteen. See? Simple enough.
Not so. There’s a lot more that goes into books than the ages of their readers, so we have to get specific here. Lucky for us, Master Class defines both middle-grade and YA fiction using these useful bullet points, so those will be our foundation:
The characteristics that middle-grade fiction tends to share are:
They contain no profanity or graphic violence.
Romance is limited to crushes and first kisses.
Protagonists are roughly between the ages of 10 and 13.
Middle-grade novels are typically between 30,000 and 50,000 words long and voiced in the third person.
Characters typically react to what happens to them within their immediate world with a focus on friends and family.
The protagonist (and narrator) generally do not delve too much into self-reflection but instead focus on real-life situations.
The characteristics that young adult fiction tends to share are:
Profanity and graphic violence are permissible, reflecting the maturity of the reading group.
Romance is allowed, but not eroticism.
Protagonists are typically between 15 and 18 years old, reflecting the age of the reading group.
Young adult novels are generally 50,000 and 75,000 words, though fantasy does tend to exceed that length.
Young adult fiction is typically focused on how the main character fits in the ‘grown-up‘ world beyond their family and friends, reflecting on events and analyzing their meaning. to better understand themselves, their journey, and the world they are coming into
Because of the amount of self-reflection and internality, YA novels are often told in the first person from the protagonist’s point of view.
Keep in mind that the points above aren’t hard and fast rules. Something can be YA and not hit all the points, something can be middle-grade are not hit all the points too. The long and short of it is they have to hit most of them.
Let’s face it, kids can take that type of profanity. Maybe you won’t find that in a children’s book written by Dr. Seuss, but I could see you finding that ‘language’ in Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
The violence isn’t bloody and the only person who dies, Professor Quirrell, is off-screen in the book (not in the film, and I love it for it). There is no romance in the book. Harry’s much more concerned with safety and family.
At 76,944 words, the book is a little long for middle-grade, but, again, the rules listed above are not hard and fast ones.
Plus, since the eleven year old Harry Potter most certainly reacts to what happens to them within their immediate world with a focus on friends and family and doesn’t stop to ask, “Was knocking out that troll really the best thing I could do?”, than I’d say the first Harry Potter book is most certainly middle-grade.
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Same goes for Chamber of Secrets. It’s a straight up mystery novel and Harry wants to find out who’s petrifying these poor children. Oh no! It was the bad guy all along, who’s still around thanks to his evil diary and the help of a giant snake! Heck, even though Ginny is obsessed with Harry, sending him a singing valentine. Harry just finds the whole thing embarrassing!
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While Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban still has Harry’s concerns mostly focused outwards and features no romance, but things are getting dicey. That man who’s a prisoner? He didn’t actually do it, and at the conclusion of the novel he hasn’t been proven innocent to the general public. Overall, the book is much more serious than the previous. The characters, such as Lupin and Sirus, are more ambiguous than the previous.
With Harry being fourteen, in the middle of what a typical middle-grade and YA protagonist is, we see Harry in his transitional phase as the series progresses to being a YA novel. Technically the book still might be middle-grade, but with a 107,253 word count I’m comfortable calling it YA because things are right on the cusp.
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Things aren’t on the cusp in Goblet of Fire. Although there’s no profanity, there are some high intense situations involve a dragon and another involving mermaids and while there is no gore, an innocent boy by the name of Cedric Digory dies for absolute no reason. Romance is now front and center.
Harry finds himself smitten with Cho Chang from Ravenclaw and is jealous of Cedric Diggory who asked her to the Yule Ball before he had worked up the nerve while his best buddy Ron becomes oh so jealous that Victor Krum attends the ball with Hermione.
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Harry is fifteen, young for a YA protagonist but still a YA protagonist. Harry’s not really on a mission to find out who put his name in the Goblet of Fire, he’s more concerned with social expectations. He’s looking into himself, most certainly, even if the book isn’t first person.
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Order of the Phoenix has Harry dealing with the fact the Ministry of Magic doesn’t believe that He-Who-Has-No-Nose is back. As a result, he starts getting rebellious. His angst-ridden interior very much has a YA voice. I don’t know about you, but this book gives me real Hunger Games vibes with Harry’s whole “I’m going to rebel” shtick even after a professor who loves the color pink and cats tortures him.
On the romantic side, Harry goes on his first date and has his first kiss. Both of which are with Cho, but those don’t go well. She’s still grieving her loss. Speaking of internal conflict, Harry’s dealing with the call to action to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Look-Human.
I’d call it YA.
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Plus, that’s not even mention how Sirius bites the bullet in the end because of his murderous cousin.
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Come Half-Blood Prince we have Ron dating Lavender Brown to make Hermione, and Harry getting on board with dating Ginny. Also typical of YA book, Henry has to look inwards: Does he want to put his friends and girlfriend in danger?
No, and that’s why his relationship with Ginny ends. It’s a very personal reason to end a relationship, and thus is why I’d call this book YA.
Plus, given that Snape becomes the most sympathetic before doing the most heinous thing in front of Harry, different things are getting ambiguous and thus adding to Harry’s internal conflict.
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In Deathly Hallows we get the conclusion to the series and the conclusion to all of these character arcs. Along the way, we see jealousy when Ron is influenced by the locket and thinks harry might just end up with Hermione, which means there’s a ton of internal conflict for both Ron and Harry. What should Harry do? Send his friend away, or try to resolve the situation? This only add to the fact that this is Ginny’s brother, and Harry misses Ginny like nobody else except a man head-over-heels.
With the conflict right at their doorstep, Harry, while he cares about them, focuses less on his friends and more on how to defeat He-Who’s-Name-Sounds-Like-Moldy-Wart.
Plus, Harry realizes how those around you can surprise you. Remember Snape, the sympathetic guy turned villain? Well, he’s the hero of this story who only killed Dumbledore because it was all apart of the plan. Also, things get a little gray when it turns out Snape was in love with Harry’s mom far before Harry’s Dad, James, came along.
Despite the fairy tale epilogue, this book I’d still call YA given it has Harry realizing how he can stand as his own person and do what he feels is right.
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All in all, I’ll say whatever everyone else has said: The series grew up with its readers
But I don’t want to end it there. With the debate ongoing about whether or not how much or how little The Chronicles of Narnia is YA or how much or how little The Giver series is YA, the debate of what the Harry Potter series hasn’t ended just because one of the best articles you’ve ever read has been published.
Thus, I have to ask: does it even matter? On Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary, Voxwrote that “[Harry Potter] was a global sensation that everyone had to read, even adults…in a post- Harry Potter world, it is taken for granted that YA is universal”.
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At ThrillerFest 2019, F Paul Wilson was asked why he decided to write middle-grade fiction. His response was simply: after he went into Microsoft Word to check and see how many active and passives sentences he had. While on there, Microsoft also told him his reader level. “Didn’t have to change my style,” he noted, but it was helpful knowing the reading level when it came to marketing the book.
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However, the best summation of middle-grade and YA came from R. L. Stine, who noted that, “The main difference between middle-grade and YA is ten dollars.”