Next generation, anyone?
Hello howdy how-d’ya-do!
Remember the Potterchat blog hop/scavenger hunt I’ve been poking y’all to join? There have been marvelous blog posts so far discussing the magic, favorite moments, and bad guys in the Harry Potter books, and MORE. If you’d like to join the discussions, check the list of blogs on this post.
So today it’s MY TURN to dazzle you lovely Potterheads with my deep understanding of the epic series… or at least I hope you’ll be amused by my attempts. Enjoy!
I bet I’m not the only person who can say that she started writing fan fiction before she moved onto original fiction. At least I know of one, and that’s fellow Potterhead and writer extraordinaire, Jami Gold.
But fan fiction gave me so much more than a start. It expanded my writing horizons exponentially. I tried my hands at every PoV and every tense, not to mention adding my own characters to the mix (termed OC’s = original characters), and writing in most genres: romance, horror, mystery, etc. And the best part about it was getting to know the other authors, helping one another to learn, and getting feedback for our efforts.
I read once that Rowling was asked if she wanted to ban Harry Potter fans from writing fan fiction. Bless her soul, she decided that people should be given the opportunity to freely engage with their favorite characters. I don’t know exactly how many ‘fanfics’ Rowling has read, but I am certain that she’d feel queasy about a lot of the fans’ bizarre choices.
Once in the fan fiction world, you see crazy things such as Fred/Dumbledore pairings and Buffy/Potter crossover stories. You might also notice that Hermione has a thing for older men. But there are also very profound and amazing stories that could take your breath away and satiate the hunger for all things Harry. Not to mention the large amount of stories about the Marauders who only get mentioned in the series and in the brief prologue written by Rowling.
You cannot imagine how HUGE the world of HPFF is, or you already suspect it if you read last week’s fan fiction expose in Time magazine. All kinds of crazy fanfics were published –not every day- every MINUTE. That’s right. You’d get hundreds new stories in an hour at prime times. Of course that was five years ago. For the purposes of this post, I went over to the fanfic mothership – Harry Potter Fan Fiction.com – which was oddly omitted from the Times article. With over 70,000 stories, 250,000 chapters, and almost 2 million reviews TODAY, this site has always been the most popular of them all.
Imagine my surprise when I saw that not only are people still writing and posting them, but I couldn’t even count the number of fanfics per day! Wow. Just… wow.
And when the seventh book was out, the genre ‘next generation’ immediately gave the fans yet more characters to play with. This is a classic case of a man not wanting to let go of the perfect dream. In the books, Dumbledore explained that if you spend too much time in front of the Mirror of Erised, you’d waste your life and lose your sanity. I am not saying that fan fiction authors lost sight of their lives, but the fact that this kind of fan fiction is still alive and kicking might mean that people just cannot let it go.
It’s all about closure, isn’t it? Some of us got it when they read the final sentence of book 7, “All was well.” Others waited until the final movie was released last Friday. Yet others are still holding on, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
My own closure echoed the way the mania had started: with fan fiction.
I remember the exact moment it happened. It was one year after I’d read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was home for Christmas and I wanted to enter the world of magic one last time, so I picked up the book and read it again. I hadn’t realized that in my rush to finish it the first time, I had missed some vital elements of story that came alive the second time around. Just then I realized how brilliant Harry’s story was all over again.
I explained why the final book meant so much to me in my review of the final movie, so I won’t say it again here (or you’ll think I’m nearly-headless, wink). What’s important is that immediately after I finished reading it, I wanted more. That’s right. I hadn’t written fan fiction for more than a year, but I wanted more again. So I didn’t get any sleep that night. Instead, I wrote a short story (one-shot) where those who died in book 7 got to say goodbye to their lives and go into the light.
Remus and Tonks reunited and smiled upon their baby. Ariana greeted Albus and forgave him for his weaknesses. Snape was young again and greeted by young Lily. Fred heard his brother’s words and left his blessing. And finally, Voldemort got what he deserved: eternal torture in between life and death. Writhing, begging for mercy, unheard and forgotten in limbo.
This story was the perfect metaphor for my own passage. I put the story up at my author page at HPFF (Yes, that’s realy me.) and I never looked back. I saw the movies as they got released and kept the magic alive, but I never went back to fan fiction because it was time to move on. To my own stories.
But this doesn’t mean that I won’t enjoy occasionally go back to this wondrous time of my life. It doesn’t mean that I’m not awaiting Pottermore as anxiously as everybody else. What is more, it’s my greatest wish that my children will know the world of Harry Potter as well, and it seems like they will. I can only imagine how many kids –and don’t forget adults- start reading the series every hour of every day. Can you? Boy, I’d like to know those numbers.
Rowling said it herself. “Whether you come back by page or on screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” I’ll take the liberty to add my own words to that effect:
Whether you come back to witness or shape Harry’s journey on page, Jo will always be there to inspire and guide you on your magical journey.
Thank you, Jo, for the lessons you taught us and for the amazing stories you shared with us. But mostly, I thank you for keeping the magic alive and letting us incorporate it in our own ways in our own lives. I grew up with Harry and many others did. So the magic wasn’t solely on the page. The real magic happened in our hearts.
Humbly, I thank you for all you have given us.
Post-script: Don’t forget to collect all EIGHT answers for the scavenger hunt to have a chance at winning our awesome prizes. For more details, go here.
Thank you for reading and playing! If you feel up for it, feel free to join our heated #potterchat debates of all things Harry Potter on twitter today at 9 pm (eastern).
Last but not least, don’t forget to spread the Potter love!