Writing a compelling point of view (POV) is vital to defining a story’s narrative narrative text. The best written POVs allow writers to successfully establish a connection between the reader’s opinion and a character’s overall feelings. In HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE, J.K. Rowling opts this by narrating with a limited third-person POV while finding valuable ways to open up her protagonist’s viewpoint.
While SORCERER’S STONE primarily follows Harry Potter’s point of view, Rowling occasionally finds ways to shift and subvert its central viewpoint. One such example takes place during a quidditch match, in which Harry suddenly loses control of his broom (gives paragraph context). While Harry desperately tries to stay on the broom and regain control, the focus shifts to Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley in the stands. Hermione then focuses her binoculars on Professor Snape (sentence must be expanded).
Some Prime Examples
“‘I knew it,’ Hermione gasped, ‘Snape – look.’
Ron grabbed the binoculars. Snape was in the middle of the stands opposite them. He had his eyes fixed on Harry and was muttering nonstop under his breath” (190).
By observing what looks like Snape muttering a curse onto Harry Potter, the reader’s current distaste for Snape’s character increases (sentence rearrangement). By contrast, Hermione and Ron’s POV reinforces the reader’s feelings towards these characters and emphasizes their concern for Harry. (gives a better view of the people that Harry is with and further establishes feelings the reader has towards different characters- bad writing)
Rowling leans into Harry Potter’s narrow point of view to subvert the reader’s expectations with an explosive ending. Because the reader only knows Harry’s feelings and ideas, we are goaded into holding similar biases towards other characters. Snape, the Potions teacher, is constantly a bane on Harry’s existence, so the reader constantly suspects him of guilt.
HARRY POTTER’s Shocking Reveal
It’s not until Professor Quirrell reveals himself as the true villain at the end that we realize that Harry’s interpretation of the situation was wrong. When faced with Quirrell, a host for Voldemort to inhabit, the professor reveals all to Harry and the reader:
“‘No, no, no. I tried to kill you. Your friend Miss Granger accidentally knocked me over as she rushed to set fire to Snape at the last Quidditch match. She broke my eye contact with you. Another few seconds and I’d have got you off that broom. I’d have managed it before then if Snape hadn’t been muttering a counter curse, trying to save you.’” (289 – 290).
This moment shocks the readers as much as Harry Potter himself (rearrangement- The reader is just as shocked as Harry at this moment). Not only was Quirrell overlooked as a potential threat, but Snape was in fact trying to protect Harry the whole time. We were so convinced that Snape was the wrongdoer that we completely rejected any other possible threats within the text.
HARRY POTTER and All the Feels
In HARRY POTTER, Rowling manages to naturally shift character point of views without feeding the reader too much information that spoils the ending. This limited third-person perspective, in turn, successfully influences the reader’s feelings about characters and situations. It allows us to better understand the main character’s decisions and ideas without giving everything away.