Child friendly descriptive scenes from Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone as well as the Hobbit and Middle Earth.
What is this hub about?
Sometimes you just need some good material to read to help you when you are writing a description. As a teacher there are some wonderful resources to use to show children so they can annalise it and try to use it in their own work.
Harry Potter and The Hobbit are amazing literature most children enjoy reading. To share this descriptive work with the children is a great way to get them excited about literacy. I have also included the videos to go alongside the description to use as visual literacy is a great aid to help improve writing.
Alternatively, have a read and enjoy the great descriptive work for some great authors.
Do your children need or want to describe a castle in their stories? If the answer is yes then there are not many finer examples than Hogwarts. The first time we see it is a magical moment. If you can emulate this in your writing then you are onto a winner.
Harry seeing Hogwarts for the first time:
P83 from Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone (Bloomsberry)
"Yeh'll get yer firs' sight o' Hogwarts in a sec," Hagrid called over his shoulder, "Jus' round this bend here."
There was a loud "Ooooooh!"
The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.
"No more 'n four to a boat!" Hagrid called, pointing to a fleet of little boats sitting in the water by the shore. Harry and Ron were followed into their boat by Nevlille and Hermione.
"Everyone in?" shouted Hagrid, who had a boat to himself, "Right then - FORWARD!"
And the fleet of little boats moved off all at once, gliding across the lake, which was as smooth as glass. Everyone was silent, staring up at the great castle overhead. It towered over them as they sailed nearer and nearer to the clidd on which it stood.
"Heads down!" yelled Hagrid as the first boat reached the cliff; they all bent their heads and the little boats carried them through a curtain of ivy which hid a wide opening in the cliff face. They were carried along a dark tunnel, which seemed to be taking them right underneath the castle, until they reached a kind of underground harbour, where they clambered out on to the rocks and pebbles.
"Oy, you there! Is this your toad?" said Hagrid, who was checking his boats as people climbed out of them.
"Trevor!" cried Neville blistfully, holding out his hands. Then they clambered up a passageway in the rock after Hagrid's lamp, coming out at last on to smooth, damp grass right in the shadow of the castle.
They walked up a flight of stone steps and crowded around the huge, oak front door.
"Everyone here? You there, still got yer toad?"
Hagrid raised a gigantic fist and knocked three times on the castle door.
I love Diagon Alley. The range of fantasy creatures and objects that are present when we walk down this street is just enchanting. Harry's reaction would be exactly like mine.
P55 in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone (Bloomsberry)
Vampires? Hags? Harry's head was swimming. Hagrid, meanwhile, was counting bricks in the wall above the dustbin.
"Three up... two across..." he muttered. "Right, stand back, Harry."
He tapped the wall three times with the point of his umbrella.
The brick he had touched quivered - it wriggled - in the middle, a small hole appeared - it grew wider and wider - a second later they were facing an archway large enough even for Hagrid, an archway on to a cobbled street which twisted and turned out of sight.
"Welcome," said Hagrid, " to Diagon Alley."
He grinned at Harry's amazement. They stepped through the archway. Harry looked quickly over his shoulder and saw the archway shrink instantly back into solid wall.
The sun shone brightly on a stack of cauldrons outside the nearest shop. Cauldrons - All sizes - Copper, Brass, Pewter, Silver - self stiring - Collapsible said a sign hanging over them.
"Yeah, you'll be needin' one," said Hagrid, " but we gotta get yer money first."
Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street, trying to look at everything at once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their shopping. A plump woman outside an apothecary's was shaking her head as they passed, saying, "Dragon liver, sixteen sickles an ounce, they're mad ..."
A low, soft hooting came from a dark shop with a sign saying Eeylops Owl Emorium - Tawny, Screech, Barn, Brown and Snowy. Several boys of about Harry's age had their noses pressed against a window with broomsticks in it. "Look," Harry heard one of them say, " the new Nimbus Two Thousand - fastest ever," There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quilss and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon ...
"Gringotts," said Hagrid.
They had reached a snowy-white building which towered over the other little shops. Stanidn beside its burnished bronze doors, wearing a uniform of scarlet and gold, was -
The great hall
What kid doesn't love magic? Well you don't get much more magical than the great hall. I remember having glow-in-the-dark stars and planets on my ceiling when I was small and I loved it. Is this where J.K. Rowling was inspired?
P86 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone. (Bloomsberry)
Feeling oddly as though his legs had turned to lead, Harry got into line behind a boy with sandy hair, with Ron behind him, and they walked out of the chamber, back across the hall and through a pair of double doors into the Great Hall.
Harry had never even imagined such a stange and splendid place. It was lit by thousands and thousands of candles which were floating in mid-air over four long tables, where the rest of the students were sitting. These tables were laid with glittering golden plates and goblets. At the top of the hall was another long table where the teachers were sitting. Professor McGonagall led the first-years up here so that they came to a half in a line facing the other students, with the teachers behind them. The hundreds of faces staring at them looked like pale lanterns in the flickering candlelight. Dotted here and there amound the students, the ghosts shone misty silver. Mainly to avoid all the staring eyes, Harry looked upwards and saw a velvety black ceiling dotted with stars. He heard Hermione whistper, "It's bewitched to look like the sky outside, I read it in Howarts: A History."
It was hard to believe there was a ceiling there at all, and that the Great Hall didn't simply open on to the heavens.
Harry quickly looked down again as Professor McGonagall silently placed a four-legged stool in front of the first-years. On top of the stool she put a pointed wizard's hat. This hat was patched and frayed and extremely dirty. Aunt Petunia wouldn't have let it in the house.
Platform 9 3/4
platform 9 3/4
"How do you get on to the platform?" she said kindly, and Harry nodded.
"Not to worry," she said. "All you have to do is walk straight at the barrier between platforms nice and ten. Don't stop and don't be scared you'll crash into it, that's very important. Best do it at a bit of a run if you're nervous. Go on, go now before Ron."
"Er - OK," said Harry.
He pushed his trolley round and stared at the barrier. It looked very solid.
He started to walk towards it. People jostled him on their way to the platforms nine and ten. Harry walked more quickly. He was going to smash right into that ticket box and then he'd be in trouble - leaning forward on his trolley he broke into a heavy run - the barrier was coming nearer and nearer - he wouldn't be able to stop - the trolley was out of control - he was a foot away - he closed his eyes ready for the crash -
It didn't come ... he kept on running ... he opened his eyes.
A scarlet steam engine was waiting next to a platform packed with people. A sign overhead said Hogwarts Express, 11 o''clock. Harry looked behind him and saw a wrought-iron archway where the ticket box had been, with the words Platform Nine and Three-Quarters on it. He had done it.
Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd, while cats of every colour wound here and there between their legs. Owls hooted to each other in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and scraping of heavy trunks.
The first few carriages were already packed with students, some hanging out of the window to talk to their families, some fighting over seats. Harry pushed his trolley off down the platform in search of an empty seat. He passed a round-faced boy who was saying, "Gran, I've lost my toad again."
The romance of the steam engine. A great nod to an English invention that changed the world from a very English book. Harry Potter wouldn't have been the same with a diesel engine waiting for them. The steam gushing up from the platform makes this scene so wonderful.
Now for a very different world!
Middle Earth is a very different land to that of Harry Potter's world. For one, Harry lives in a world we already know, as we live here too so everything described is very much as we would recognise it.
Middle Earth faces a different challenge for the author because it is a fantasy world and as such some things need extra description due to the fact that we are not familiar with them in our world.
See what you think with some of the descriptions below:
Hobbits are amazing creatures so they needed somewhere just as different and yet homely as a Hobbit hole. Who wouldn't love to live in a home like this? In fact I have seen a lot of eco-homes which may very well be inspired by this wonderful creation of Tolkien.
A hobbit hole.
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with panelled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats - the hobbit was fond of visitors.
The tunnel wound on and on, going fairly but not quite straight into the side of the hill - The hill, as all the peopl for many miles around called it - and many little round doors opened out of it, first on one side and then on another. No going upstairs for the nobbit: bedrooms, bathrooms, cellars, pantries (lots of these), wardrobes (he had whole rooms devoted to clothes), kitchens, dining-rooms, all were on the same floor, and indeed on the same passage.
The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in) for these were the only ones to have windows deep-set round windows looking over his garden and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.
This hobbit was a very well-to-do hobbit, and his name was Baggins. The Baggines had lived in the neighbourhood of the Hill for time out of mind.
Elves come in various guises in different fantasy worlds (including fables) and yet the Elves of Middle Earth are the most majestic. Vastly superior to us mere mortals, these beautiful creatures needed something just as magical to live. Rivendell shows the world how beautiful the natural world is and is in stark contrast to the industialisation of the Orks. Was Tolkien trying to tell the world something about the way humanity was heading here?
Rivendell, when Bilbo firsts sees it:
"Here it is at last," he called, and the others gathered around him and looked over the edge.
They saw a valley far below. They could hear the voice of hurrying water in the rocky bed at the bottom; the scent of trees was in the air; and there was a light on the valley-side across the water. Bilbo never forgot the way they slithered and slipped in the dusk down the steep zig-zag path into the secret valley of Rivendell.
The air grew warmer as they got lower, and the smell of pine-trees made him drowsy, so that every now and again he nodded and nearly fell off, or bumped his nose on the pony's neck. THeir spirits rose as they went down and down. The trees changed to beeth and oak, and here was a comfortable feeling in the twilight. The last green had almost faded out of grass when they came at length to an open glade not far above the banks of the stream.
"Hmmmmm! it smells like elves!" thought Bilbo and looked up at the stars. They were burning bright and blue. Just then there came a burst of song like laughter in the trees:
There are some great scene desriptions within all the books, and I have included some from the first book because I would give these examples to younger children. They will love looking at this book too because it is very child friendly.
So have fun sharing these descriptions with your students.