I don't know if this just happens to be a thing that's common in the books I read as a kid, but there was always that bit, in the beginning of every book in the series, where the main character(s) were described. It was pretty much the same description in every book (the Nancy Drew books and the Sweet Valley Twins books come to mind here). In these books I sort of get it, cause you pretty much always picked the book that looked most interesting in the library and therefor never really read them in the right order.

Now last night I had to look up a thing in the third Harry Potter book and I realized that the same thing goes on here. Why would you in a book series that is meant to be read in chronological order describe the main character(s) in every book? Wouldn't that just bore the reader? I might be interested in knowing Harry has grown a few inches, but I already know he has dark hair and green eyes.

In what circumstances is it appropriate to describe the character in every book in the series and when should it be avoided?

  • There's a big gap between each book publication wise: might be useful for kids to just refamiliarise them with the main character's appearance after a big gap between books. Maybe, I'm just guessing. Though his green eyes are rather important. It actually might be a way of reminding us about his eyes without singling them out and cramming down our throats OMG THESE EYES IS IMPORTANTS!!!!! XD
    – Mac Cooper
    Mar 16, 2015 at 8:28
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    Could be, especially since they are blue in the movies FFS CHRIS COLUMBUS THEY ARE GREEN AND MY READERS WILL KNOW IT!!! :D
    – Niffler
    Mar 16, 2015 at 8:44
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    I don't even mind he has blue eyes in film. What bothers me is that child Lily has Green Eyes!!!!! Cmon, at least make them have the same colour in the films!!! Haha xD
    – Mac Cooper
    Mar 16, 2015 at 8:52

1 Answer 1


Not every author follows this, but I'm of the opinion that a series should be written with at least minimal accommodations for a reader who enters it at any point --including some character descriptions and brief contextualization. People read books out of order all the time.

  • I concur. Just because a series is meant to be read in order, definitely does not guarantee that it will be. However, I also agree that description we already know can bore the reader, so be concise. Mar 16, 2015 at 17:00

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