Character Building Tools

Ashley Marie

Headmaster
Staff member
Within this thread, we hope to discuss what tools help you most when building your characters.

Please feel free to share your favorites with us, below.
 

darsynia

Moderator
Staff member
So, as someone who writes a lot of Remus Lupin, I have a lot of resources that I use for figuring out when the full moons were. Full disclosure: JKR did not do this when writing the books. In 1994 at the end of PoA, for example, the full moon was the 25th of May, not June 6 (or June 9), as in the book. Sometimes you just want a calendar, as well, so you know what dates were weekends, etc.

Full Moon Dates by year - this website lets you plug in the year and it will tell you the full moon dates. This is for 1977, at the beginning of the Marauders' final year.
Full calendar programmable by year, with moon phases - you can alter this by year as needed. This is the one for 1994, in the UK.

If you're looking to make sure your dates are correct for book details, the HP-Lexicon has you covered. They have a calendar for each book. If there is a date discrepancy they'll list it in notes and sometimes show an 'added day' here and there when there's a mismatch. You can see this in the way the events of the end of PoA are a bit iffy as to whether the full moon Shack scene is on the 6th or the 9th of June.

Philosopher's Stone (Sorcerer's Stone)
Chamber of Secrets
Prisoner of Azkaban
Goblet of Fire
Order of the Phoenix
Half-Blood Prince
Deathly Hallows
 

JMilz

Moderator
For authenticity, I like to check out the Fandom wiki. They do a lot of citations as well.

Check out the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki.

Sometimes there are little details I forget, like what common potion ingredients are or common wand woods. If you're writing about Severus Snape or Horace Slughorn, potion-making will be one of their hobbies, so you will want to make sure you have accurate information. If you're writing about Newt Scamander or Luna Lovegood, you may need to know more about magical creatures. Hobbies are an important part of character development, so make sure you're doing your research to maintain accuracy. Luna would never confuse a Nargle with a Wrackspurt, so make sure you don't either! :)
 

darsynia

Moderator
Staff member
For authenticity, I like to check out the Fandom wiki. They do a lot of citations as well.

Check out the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki.
A note on HPFW citations. Take care with them! I was researching Polyjuice Potion and the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki had information that I didn't remember from the books, and cited Pottermore* for it. The problem was, when I followed the citation they gave for Pottermore, it led back to the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki's own wikipedia page for Pottermore, not the Pottermore page with the Polyjuice Potion information on it! This is a problem for wikipedia citations in general, but particularly for fannish information! I'm not saying don't trust them, but as writers you should also be aware that that particular site also cites information from the games that have been produced with the franchise, such as Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, as canon information. Not all of fandom agrees with this! Bill Weasley's page in particular suffers from this.

Most of the information there is super great and very valuable, I should add. Just be careful in trusting the citations. A wiki that cites itself for sources is kind of nuts, and I hope that the Polyjuice Potion citation was a placeholder that was not finished.

*a note on Pottermore. I think it's great! The problem is that it adds (fannish term is 'retcon') information on characters, spells, and other Harry Potter things that are in addition to the books. By all means use Pottermore as a resource, but do know that not everyone knows about every bit of information that comes from there, and many don't view it as true 'canon' information.

Sorry for the chitchat here, but I feel that this is good stuff to know.

ps. comments not specifically directed at you, JMilz!
 
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JMilz

Moderator
A note on HPFW citations. Take care with them! I was researching Polyjuice Potion and the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki had information that I didn't remember from the books, and cited Pottermore* for it. The problem was, when I followed the citation they gave for Pottermore, it led back to the Harry Potter Fandom Wiki's own wikipedia page for Pottermore, not the Pottermore page with the Polyjuice Potion information on it! This is a problem for wikipedia citations in general, but particularly for fannish information! I'm not saying don't trust them, but as writers you should also be aware that that particular site also cites information from the games that have been produced with the franchise, such as Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, as canon information. Not all of fandom agrees with this! Bill Weasley's page in particular suffers from this.

Most of the information there is super great and very valuable, I should add. Just be careful in trusting the citations. A wiki that cites itself for sources is kind of nuts, and I hope that the Polyjuice Potion citation was a placeholder that was not finished.

*a note on Pottermore. I think it's great! The problem is that it adds (fannish term is 'retcon') information on characters, spells, and other Harry Potter things that are in addition to the books. By all means use Pottermore as a resource, but do know that not everyone knows about every bit of information that comes from there, and many don't view it as true 'canon' information.

Sorry for the chitchat here, but I feel that this is good stuff to know.

ps. comments not specifically directed at you, JMilz!
Very good point! It's definitely helpful to follow citations back to the primary source. I was a history major in college and that was always Rule #1!
 

Ashley Marie

Headmaster
Staff member
This is definitely the place for chit chat, so feel free to elaborate on anything/everything here. I love the added resources already for character building, I'll be working hard to add more this weekend. You two have been a great help with this forum so far!
 
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