So the only way this is going to work, is if we’re all on the same page. If you haven’t read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s stone, sorry.
When you pick up a book, what makes you turn the page? What’s the yummy ingredient that gets you from page 1, to ALL HAIL THE VICTORIUS HARRY. Opinions may vary, but I think it’s the glorious little blobs of awesomesauce that keep you from snoring into your butter beer.
Some people will argue that it’s the characters. I don’t think so. Characterization is what happens in between those bites of saucy goodness. Let me show you what I mean.
Put aside the first chapter prologue-ish thing of Potter part one. We’ll start where the real story does, in chapter 2.
We have a trip to the zoo (Zzzzz… Huh, wha, I’m awake). There’s some stuff that happens, some of it’s pretty cool and we learn great things about Harry. It all ends with a little blip of awesome, a talking python.
The next chapter can be summed up pretty easily: Mr. Dursley is a D-Bag, but then we get letter-toting owls.
The Sorting Hat.
And we’re off to the races. Each awesome builds to something awesome-er.
Where is the characterization? It’s stuffed between those delicious dollops of awesomesauce. Character is what keeps you coming back for more. You want to discover what happens to Harry next, so you buy Chamber of Secrets. Awesome is what gets you there, character is what brings it home.
When an opening falls flat, it’s often due to too much characterization. Scratch that, rather too boring a situation. Writer thinks, “I need to show my darling going through this tough (and sleepy) thing. How else will the reader understand him?” Sure, do that. Just make it awesome too.