My favorite series.
I think I’ve squeed enough about Harry Potter on here so that you know it’s my favorite series. One of the things I love about it is that it has such a rich back story. The books are obviously about Harry and his friends and their struggles, but they are so influenced by things that have happened 10 years ago or more and that mystery–that not knowing fully what happened–adds to the depth of the story. It allows the reader to be a little imaginative.
I also love that the bad guy Voldemort has his own story. I hate it when bad guys are just bad and we’re supposed to accept it. I’m looking at you, Chronicles of Narnia. I like that Rowling respected her readers enough to trust them to not be confused between good and evil, even when we understood why evil behaved the way it did. It also taught us that this understanding was important.
The supporting characters in Harry Potter were also rich characters. Draco, the juvenile antagonist, had his own internal struggles. Of course we knew less about it since he wasn’t the main character, but they played into the story. Neville, one of Harry’s friends but not one of his closest friends, is a great foil for Harry (and my favorite character. I love him so much). He started as a less than great student who talked about the shadow of his accomplished parents and that he wasn’t expected to live up to them. But when given a chance to prove himself (I don’t want to spoil it for people who haven’t read it, but I love him so much and he was amazing! Here’s what they say about him on Urban Dictionary).
Bonus: for some of the same reasons–rich backstory that is only hinted at, raison d’etre for the bad guys…mostly–I also love Kushiel’s Legacy. And the sex. I am so embarrassed to recommend these books to people because they are pretty much soft core porn. Briefly, these books are about Phedre, essentially a holy prostitute/uber spy, and how she uses sex and secrecy to save her country. There is travel, magic, love, and adventure. Oh, and sex. Lots and lots of sex.