A most excellent post from Veronica Roth on YA Highway today called Humor, Contrast, and Harry Potter inspired me to offer you a sampling of some of my own favorite funny moments from the series.
Veronica does an excellent job of explaining why JK Rowling's sense of whimsy worked so well in a series that touched on serious themes and darkened as it progressed. I recommend that you hurry over there, after reading here of course, and enjoy her insight.
If you've been working hard on your NaNo project, I imagine you might need a humor break about now. So, grab some tea, sit back, and enjoy these funnies from various Potter books:
"Oh, are you a prefect, Percy? You should have said something, we had no idea."
"Hang on I think I remember him saying something about it, once..."
"Now, you two - Behave yourselves. If I get one word that you've blown up a toilet or -"
"Blown up a toilet? We've never blown up a toilet."
"Great idea though, thanks, Mum."
Ron was staring at Pettigrew with the utmost revulsion.
"I let you sleep in my bed!" he said.
"Professor Dumbledore - yesterday, when I was having my Divination exam, Professor Trelawney went very - very strange."
"Indeed?" said Dumbledore. "Er - stranger than usual, you mean?"
"Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?" said Fred.
"That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!" said Percy, going very red in the face. "It was nothing personal!"
"It was," Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. "We sent it."
One of them was a very old wizard who was wearing a long flowery nightgown. The other was clearly a Ministry wizard; he was holding out a pair of pinstriped trousers and almost crying with exasperation.
"Just put them on, Archie, there's a good chap. You can't walk around like that, the Muggle at the gate's already getting suspicious-"
"I bought this in a Muggle shop," said the old wizard stubbornly. "Muggles wear them."
"Muggle women wear them, Archie, not the men, they wear these," said the Ministry wizard, and he brandished the pinstriped trousers.
"I'm not putting them on," said old Archie in indignation. "I like a healthy breeze 'round my privates, thanks."
A week after Fred and George's departure, Harry witnessed Professor McGonagall walking right past Peeves, who was determinedly loosening a crystal chandelier, and could have sworn he heard her tell the poltergeist out of the corner of her mouth, "It unscrews the other way."
"Don't put your wand there, boy!" roared Moody. "What if it ignited? Better wizards than you have lost buttocks, you know!"
"Hello, Harry," said George, beaming at him. "We thought we heard your dulcet tones."
"You don't want to bottle up your anger like that, Harry, let it all out," said Fred, also beaming. "There might be a couple of people fifty miles away who didn't hear you."
"We're not discussing anything here, it's too risky," said Moody, turning his normal eye on Harry; his magical eye remained pointing up at the ceiling. "Damn it," he added angrily, putting a hand up to the magical eye, "it keeps sticking - ever since that scum wore it - "
And with a nasty squelching sound much like a plunger being pulled from a sink, he popped out his eye.
"Mad-eye, you know that's disgusting, don't you?" said Tonks conversationally.
"When we were in Diagon Alley," Harry began, but Mr. Weasley forstalled him with a grimace.
"Am I about to discover where you, Ron, and Hermione disappeared to while you were supposed to be in the back room of Fred and George's shop?"
"How did you...?"
"Harry, please. You're talking to the man who raised Fred and George."
"What are you doing with all those books anyway?" Ron asked.
"Just trying to decide which ones to take with us," said Hermione. "When we're looking for the Horcruxes."
"Oh, of course," said Ron, clapping a hand to his forehead. "I forgot we'll be hunting down Voldemort in a mobile library."
"This is different, pretending to be me--"
"Well, none of us really fancy it, Harry," said Fred earnestly. "Imagine if something went wrong and we were stuck as specky, scrawny gits forever."
Have you used humor in your story? Humor is an essential mechanism for how we humans cope with life, even the most negative side. As Veronica so wonderfully points out, it's an important element that needs to be included in our stories. But it is best served up when it flows naturally from the characters rather than forced from the author.
I'd love to hear examples of how you've used humor in your own WIP. Or tell me one of your favorite funnies from Harry Potter!