When Characters Come to Life | Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

“Breath the words and they will come to life; as of words of magic”

Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

Imagine a world where you could bring your favorite characters to life. Sounds like every book lover’s dream right? How wonderful life would be if we could bring the most iconic of fictional characters into our world – just by reading out loud from our favourite books. 

Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke, helps you picture that world that most of us dream of. Houses filled with books from the floor to the ceiling, amazing characters coming to life, meeting the author of your favourite book, you name it – Inkheart draws up a world that everyone who has ever fallen in love with books has imagined at least once in their lifetime.

But what if for each character that comes out, one of our own gets stuck in the story?

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The book takes us into the journey of 12-year-old Meggie and her father Mo: two people who are completely devoted to books and reading.

But for some reason, Meggie could never remember a time when her father read aloud to her. It turns out that Mo has a gift that he loved…until something went terribly wrong. And as they avoid the dangers of those who he set free into our world, they go on an adventure to set it right and bring back all that they have lost.

“Perhaps there’s another, much larger story behind the printed one, a story that changes just as our own world does. And the letters on the page tell us only as much as we’d see peering through a keyhole. Perhaps the story in the book is just the lid on a pan: It always stays the same, but underneath there’s a whole world that goes on – developing and changing like our own world.”

Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

In spite of showing us a dark and intense side of a world that we would imagine to be perfect, Inkheart resonates with every book lover. It puts into words the emotions that each reader feels as they pick up a book with beautiful metaphors and imagery.

But then it jerks our blissful dream land into one of cold hard reality. Would the world really be that wonderful if the best characters become real? Or is it more likely for us to find a new side of them that disappoints us?

The portrayal of different fictional characters in the world that Mo and Meggie live in makes us question if we really would be okay with having our stories forming in real life.

Especially if we had to give the story something or someone in return.

“Every book should begin with attractive endpapers. Preferably in a dark colour: dark red or dark blue, depending on the binding. When you open a book it’s like going to the theater. First you see the curtain then it is pulled aside and the show begins.”

Cornelia Funke, Inkheart

But that is not the only thought that the book dwells on. In fact, this book is filled with knowledge, both introspective as well as bookish.

For starters, each and every chapter is headed with wonderful excerpts from all the well known classics of the time. It indulges and embraces its identity of being a book lover’s experience with references from other works that define our childhood amongst many others.

It talks about how to take care of a book once you have read it so much that it starts breaking its spine. It talks about the art of being a book collector. The art of being a writer.

In fact, this book could almost be a book lover’s guide to dream careers!

In spite of the intense adventure that Inkheart takes us on, at heart, it stays true to the wonder that every one of us feels when we bury our noses into the pages of a book. Yes, it makes you question all the dreams that you had as a kid, about your fictional friends being real ones.

As a child, it made me wary of reading aloud for quite a while. But what makes this book so wonderful is that it still embraces the goodness of books even though it disillusions another part of it.

It tells you that yes, books are a safe space but remember…there is a reason that they are not a part of reality.

About the Author


Uma Anilkumar is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in English Studies. She is often captivated by new, interesting ideas, especially that of pop culture and is always in search of learning something new.  A lover of all kinds of art, she is a writer and poet during her free time and dreams of publishing her own work in the future.

By The Sanatan Chronicle

The Sanatan Chronicle | The Voice of the Globe


  1. Oh my God! Noooo! The article ended!. I wanted more to this.
    It was such a wonderful read. I am soo going to read Inkheart now.
    Thank you so much, Uma for writing about this book.
    I cannot wait to read this book.

  2. Wow, this is a terribly wonderful read! Thanks a lot for writing about this book. I’ll definitely read this one.

    And I loved the way the entire article is woven mixing a childlike and adult tone. Especially the last line!

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