Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The minutes snailed by.

JK Rowling has a way with words.  She can capture descriptions of setting, mystery, and character in a manner that is both vivid and delightful.

I'll use this post to start a collection of favorite tidbits from her work, chosen for reasons of craft above story, but any type of excerpt that I find special in some way shall be included.  These are just short sentences or phrases that don't require a lot of study, but are worth noting all the same.  I'll update this post frequently.

The minutes snailed by. (CoS, p. 151) - when Harry had detention with Lockhart. This little snippet almost sailed right by me.

"It's a dragon!" shrieked one of the first years, losing her head completely.
"Don't be stupid...it's a flying house!" said Dennis Creevey. (GoF, p. 242) - because seeing a flying house makes so much more sense than seeing a dragon!

Stupefied, painted gold, stuffed into a miniature tutu and with small wings glued to its back, it glowered down at them all, the ugliest angel Harry had ever seen, with a large bald head like a potato and rather hairy feet. (HBP p. 309 Bloomsbury) -- I love those hairy feet.  Because a stupefied Christmas tree gnome is just not funny enough without those hairy feet.

Madam Hooch, the Quidditch teacher, asked Flint and Wood to shake hands... (CoS, p. 213) -- Flint and Wood?  I wonder if they strike sparks off each other.

Wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them. (DH, p. 337 Bloomsbury) -- We are talking about wands, right?

They hurried along the corridor to the place Dobby had described to Harry, a stretch of blank wall opposite an enormous tapestry depicting Barnabas the Barmy's foolish attempt to train trolls for the ballet. (OotP, p. 389) -- I mean really; what kind of warped mind conjures up trolls in pointe shoes doing a plie?!? Obviously, no simple tapestry of a knights and ladies would do!

Snape's sallow skin had gone the color of sour milk. (PoA, p. 285) -- That's kinda nasty.  I'd never have thought to compare skin to milk.

A loud ripping noise rent the air; two of the Monster Books had seized a third and were pulling it apart...
"I thought we'd seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of the Invisible Book of Invisibility--cost a fortune, and we never found them." (PoA, p. 53) -- I want to shop at this bookstore!

If you find any remarkable snippets, please send them my way!

Picture credit.


  1. Those make me want to go back and read them again. I now feel like I rushed through the books just to find out what was going to happen next. ;o)

  2. That's one of the fabulous things about JKR -- there's so much more to find in the re-reads. Thanks for visiting, Anna!

  3. Norwegian PotterfanJuly 12, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    I truly agree with you that snippets like these enrich the books. Anyone who wants to become a good writer should study JKR carefully and learn how she uses this device to reveal all the quirky details that make up her magical world.

    One a side note: in my native tongue, Norwegian, "time snailing by" is a well-known piece of imagery; a cliché. Funny to see how this varies from language to language! :-)