What made Hogwarts more of a home to Harry than the Dursley’s house? While this may be an easy question, it is a crucial one that stabs at the groundwork of writing: how place affects your characters’ lives.
First off, is your character an indoor or an outdoor person? Remember Sirius’s careless bird chasing and general carefreeness when he was allowed to go outside. The Beatles act similar on Hard Day’s Night during the fire escape scene.They become free, almost literally uncaged. They crunch back up again when intruded. They’re still Sirius and the Beatles* but they’re more themselves when outside. Simply put, does your setting, your situation, and your characters’ mood fit together?
Going back to Harry, whose mood is more affected by the people around him than indoor/outdoor, how does he know that he’s going to have fun at Hogwarts? He almost got killed there on several occasions. Why did he keep going back?
He was accepted, even loved. It was the first place he didn’t always have to fear. He could fly, and fly and fly until the dementors got him. He could be himself.
So what is home? Home is the place where you’re happy and free. You can be yourself, wizard or not a wizard, genius or not a genius. In a quote in Golden Son, by Pierce Brown,”Home isn’t where you’re from; it’s where you find light when all grows dark.” Are your characters at home?
*Sirius and The Beatles. What kind of band would they be?