5 Uncommon Books Harry Potter Fans Will Love

Once you’ve finished the Harry Potter series, you feel the desperate need to read it again. And again. And again. And then you read The Cursed Child. And then the Hogwarts Library. And then the Fantastic Beasts screenplays. Eventually you will run out of good Harry Potter related reading material.


But that does not mean you have to stop there. I know the desperate need to find a new world to join and love just as much as the Wizarding World.


Of course, you can read Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia just like everyone else. But there are some lesser known books that anyone who enjoys Harry Potter will find solace in just as much.

Nevermoor

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend is easily my third favorite book of all time. Just like the separation of the Wizard and Muggle worlds, the world of Nevermoor is split.

Morrigan Crow, like Harry Potter, is an normal child save for one thing. She is doomed to die on her eleventh birthday. And, like Harry, a mysterious stranger comes to her aid, Jupiter North. Jupiter takes Morrigan away from the dull and corrupt Wintersea Rublic to the wonderfully crazy Free State city of Nevermoor.

However, she has her own Voldemort pursuing her, the Wundersmith. Nevermoor has two books that succeed it and Townsend is still working on the series, so there is lots to look forward to.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is more of a mature read than Harry Potter but I still believe Wizarding World lovers will enjoy it.

Just like Rowling’s unique take on magic, Morgenstern has taken it to the next level. Magic exists, yes, but magicians hide amongst ordinary people. The magicians parade their gifts as mere conjuring tricks but do not need smoke and mirrors to create illusion. Two young people, Celia and Marco, youths with the gift of sorcery, have been bound together from a young age by their guardians. This bond has them playing their lives like a chess match, seeing who can outshine the other in a contest of magical prowess.

The Night Circus is the board and they are the players…or are they the pawns?

The Grishaverse

Just as Rowling crafted her own world, large as life, Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse is as real as Hogwarts.

Magic and normalcy are collided in the same steampunk/fantasy land. Grisha are men and women who can harness the power of elements. While they live amongst normal people they are often either praised or punished for their magic. Many Grisha hide their abilities and some do not even know the power is theirs. Three series and have been written in the Grishaverse so far, Shadow and BoneSix of Crows, and King of Scars.

I read Six of Crows before Shadow and Bone by accident, but I would advise reading the series in order, even if the former is so much better.

The Inquisitior’s Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale or Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz is by far the most hilarious book on this list.

Set in the Middle Ages, Jeanne, Jacob, and William are the Medieval equivalent of the Golden Trio…plus a dog. Tales and folklore of magic are told and celebrated but when these three children are revealed to have miraculous abilities they are persecuted and rejected. Even threatened with burning at the stake! The story is told by a group of travelers at an inn; a Brewster, a nun, a librarian, the innkeeper, a jongleur, a chronicler, a king’s companion, a troubadour, and, of course, the Inquisitor.

The tale is original and the format unique, Potterheads of any age will love it.

The Night Gardener

Magic is not always good, as Voldemort and his Death Eaters have demonstrated. This rings true in Jonathan Axiur’s The Night Gardener.

Molly and her lame brother, Kip, are orphans and have gone to work for the Windsor’s. The Windsor’s live in a crumbling and bleak mansion in an island of woods and the family all have the same gaunt pale skin and dead black hair and eyes. But the most peculiar and ominous omen is the twisting tree that is apart of the house. Molly and Kip soon begin hearing noises in the night…loud footfalls and rustling leaves. What will the children do when the dark magic begins to overtake them as their hair and eyes darken, just like the grim Windsor’s?

What secrets are hidden in the mansion and, more importantly, the great tree that grows darker every day?


Reading these books will put you in the same magical trance that Harry Potter did, and most likely still does. Yes, they don’t have Harry, Ron, and Hermione in them but this is the opportunity to fall for new characters. I promise these books will not disappoint if you give them a chance!

A Brief History of The Murder Mystery

Murder is the epitome of crime. Crime scenes are bloody, gruesome, and not a place most would willingly step into. Real life killings appall any decent person.

So why are we so obsessed with murder mysteries? What makes murder in literature more attractive than in real life? What captures the mind when reading crime as opposed to seeing it?

I used to think it was the fiction that made a murder mystery appealing. The crime was made up and therefore acceptable. I loved trying to race Sherlock, Nancy, and Hercule to the conclusion and I thought that is why so many love the dark genre.

It wasn’t until I watched the Lucy Worsley documentary A Very British Murder that I really understood where the murder mystery begun and how it morphed it’s way into the bestselling lists.

The-New-Taste-for-Blood owned by Amazon

Back in the late Regency/early Georgian era, murder was rare. Most criminals were petty thieves. Breaking and entering, pick pocketing, and fraud were everyday occurrences. One couldn’t go a month without being on some end of one of these crimes. Back then, these matters were less than entertaining. Why would you read about a pickpocket after you had just been robbed?

Murder was not a primary concern. Most civilians did not dwell on the idea. Not because it was disturbing but because murder had not been publicized to them.

Just like today, media had a great influence on the commonwealth’s minds. Newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets were the main forms of entertainment. You could read about the latest gossip, last week’s hanging, and the out of country fashions. These were the topics on people’s minds. That is what they talked about with their friends.

The press didn’t find need to report murder thus the commonwealth’s minds didn’t occupy it.

This precept changed radically with the killing of a family. The Marrs were a respectable family, all found dead in their home by their maid, Margaret. The young couple, their baby son, and the apprentice who lived with them, were brutally killed, mercilessly and without motive.

This story was unlike anything the public had ever seen. It had mystery, treachery, gruesomeness, and the most important of all…entertainment. 

The murder house was opened to the public. All stations of people were admitted and could even see the bodies laid out. 

Today, this is unimaginable. Strangers cannot traipse through crime scenes. And why would any one want to see dead bodies, heads bashed in, throats cut? People actually paid to visit the crime scene. Why? Out of fear, curiosity, and a want to assist in looking for clues.

Are these not the same reasons we open a mystery book? To experience shivers, to answer questions, and most importantly, to become detectives. The public response to the Marr’s murders was less of fascination with the murder than with that of the story.

The press soon discovered that this murder mystery made their newspapers sell like hot cakes. The blurred lines of fiction and fact reported in articles were full of drama, enigma, and murder.

Many historians believe this to have been a result of mob mentality. Everyone else was rushing to the crime scene, why not do it too? I do not think this as so. If this first fascination with murder mystery had been a mere fad it would not have survived the test of time. But it has. In fact, it has thrived!

You and I know the invigorating feeling a good murder can induce. Fictionalized or not, a story captivates. Add in a genre that you have never read before, and a wretched one at that…it’s a recipe for success.

The Ratcliff Murders were the first seedlings of what was to grow into a murder phenomenon. Detectives, who had never been seen before, were officially sent out to investigate crime. Homicide was now a legitimate fear, as well as a legitimate form of entertainment. Victims and their murderers would become characters in their own stories. Penny Dreadfuls would begin to appear. These short stories were printed in newspapers and magazines, written specially for these new murder lovers.

Nowadays we would cringe at these stories. They are called penny dreadfuls for a reason. Buy a horrific mystery for cheap! For the lower class in the nineteenth century, whom reading was becoming more and more common, these penny dreadfuls were delightful. The genres we call horror, thriller, and mystery were all smashed into a few short pages. Every single paragraph was vivid and over dramatic.

Everyone loved it.

Being apart of a real life crime, cruel and inhumane, must be an exciting experience…unless your the body of course. But not everyone is called (or has the stomach) to be a detective. Yet one ,ay still experience the “detective fever,” as Wilkie Collins puts it in The Moonstone, …in the pages of a book.

A reader can feel the chills of fear, satisfy their appetite for adventure, and solve a murder or two all from their own bed.

What more could a person want?


I am dead excited for Murder Mystery month! Not literally dead…it was just an expression. Monday, October 5, 2020, my blog series “Murder, Mystery, and Meaning” will be posted! The thought that murder mysteries, one of the best genres, can contain value and even positivity makes me giddy with joy! I’m dying to share the series with you! Again, I’m not actually dying…

What is your favorite murder mystery? Whether you prefer a series or a certain detective, you have to have a favorite. My favorite is Sherlock Holmes…no wait Flavia de Luce! No, Lord Peter Whimsey. Wait! Father Brown! I suppose you can have multiple favorites?

The Surprising Truth About Harry Potter Part Three

Every true Wizarding World fan knows that when J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter she was writing about love. Dumbledore is always talking about love this and love that. Harry gets to the point of being annoyed by it just as much as Voldemort scorns the concept.


Before reading what I have to say about this, might I suggest reading the first two posts in “The Surprising Truth About Harry Potter” series if you have not already done so.


Readers get bored with the whole love thing as well. I know that when I read the books, I was slightly disconcerted by the shallowness that I thought lingered behind the repetition.


It took me years to realize that when Rowling wrote the word “love” she meant so much more.


I just now turned to a random page in my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I ended up on page 244, where Dean Thomas, Griphook, Gornuk, and Ted Tonks are hiding out in the same woods as Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Goblins and wizards working together?


I did this again and landed on when the Golden Trio went to Xenophilius Lovegood’s home to ask about the Deathly Hallows. A man doing anything to save his daughter?


What do these two events have in common? What does almost every single scene in each Harry Potter book have in common?


Love.


Open up to a random page of the Harry Potter book nearest to you (The Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts don’t count!) and I bet my Marauders Map the root of that scene is love.


Now that you have found a random Harry Potter passage, open up Google News, turn on your TV, or glance at the newspaper’s front page. How much love did you find there?


The readers that read Harry Potter, me included, have grown up in a generation of hate, turmoil, and human immortality. Love is a concept many people do not completely understand.


J.K. never defines the magic of love. She operates on the first rule every writer knows off the top of their heads. Show, don’t tell.


The first time love is noticeably brought up as a concept of importance is in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

“Your mother died to save you. If there’s one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn’t realize that love as powerful as your mothers for you leaves it’s own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign… to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who left us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrel, full of hatred, greed and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone


It hurts how prevalent Dumbledore’s words are in the modern age. Good people are attacked on a daily basis and lost and confused people get stung because of it. So they try again and again to prove their own rightness and fail just as much.


To worldly eyes it may appear that love can be overcome by lesser things. But in the end, once the story has taken its course and arrived at the end, what prevails? Harry or Voldemort?


Quirrel tries to take the Stone and kill Harry, but Lily Potter’s love stops him. Tom Riddle attempts to regain strength and kill Ginny Weasley, but Harry’s friendship and Dumbledore’s protection stops him. Sirius and Remus almost kill Peter Pettigrew and Sirius’ soul is almost taken, but Harry’s sense of justice and protection stops these. Again and again, love overcomes without the characters even realizing it.


Even Harry, who has saved and been saved by multiple forms of love doesn’t understand the importance of it until the very end. I know I have referenced the Battle of Hogwarts multiple times in this blog series but as a dedicated Potterhead, I cannot emphasize the importance of this scene enough.

“I know things you don’t, Tom Riddle. I know lots of important things you don’t. Want to hear some before you make another big mistake?”

Voldemort did not speak but prowled in a circle and Harry knew that he kept him temporarily mesmerized and at bay, held back by the faintest possibility that Harry might indeed know a final secret…“

Is it’s love again?” said Voldemort , his snake face jeering, “Dumbledore‘s favorite solution, love, which he claimed conquered death, though love did not stop him falling from the Tower and breaking like an old wax work? Love, which did not prevent me stamping out your Mudblood mother like a cockroach, Potter- and nobody seems to love you enough to run forward this time, and take my curse. So what will stop you dying now when I strike?”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


But it was love that saved Harry. His own love. The love he had learned that triumphed over everything. Community, friendship, mercy, and redemption.


As I have said, Harry simply using the Disarming charm was a deep act of love. That act saved him and killed Voldemort.


This is easy to miss nowadays. Readers are constantly attacked in every day life and they believe less and less in the power of goodness. These readers completely loose sight of how love saved Harry and his friends again and again. All they read is an epic tale.


But for those who see past this, for those who learn from the seven books, who read what J.K. Rowling meant them to read…they take much more with them when they close the book.
I geek out as much as the next fan and I enjoy it too. But what is that compared to the knowledge that some do not see what I see when they read Harry Potter?


Love. Just hearing that word makes me want to do better, to reach out to the list, to defend my beliefs, to cry at how much love I have been given, how much mercy has been bestowed upon me.


Is that how Harry feels? Knowing that his parents died to save him and that he would die (and did die) to save the ones he loved. How sad is it that Voldemort had so many opportunities to discover this deep and simple truth yet never had the strength to take it inside his heart (even if it was two sizes too small.)
It is love that gives us the confidence of a brighter day, even when we cannot see it. It is always there. A good ending, a better ending than we could ever hope for.


Harry, Ron, Hermione and every other great character’s ambitions were nothing compared for what was in store for them.


The last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air. The train rounded a corner. Harry’s hand was still raised in farewell.

“He’ll be all right,” murmured Ginny.

As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absent-mindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.

“I know he will.“

The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
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