How fanfiction has saved and carried my love for Harry Potter

The title sounds a bit dramatic, I admit. But it’s true. I grew up reading Harry Potter, and it’s one of the series that made me the reader (and person) I am today. And I will always love the original 7-book series as they hold a special place in my heart.

My issues with the franchise and creator

But I can’t pretend like my love for Harry Potter hasn’t taken a hit in the past few years. The behavior of JKR has astounded me, and I no longer want anything to do with it. From liking transphobic stuff, to pretending there is any diversity in Harry Potter when there really isn’t, and keeping an abusive actor in the series because he’s famous. I can’t imagine any other reason to keep him in there other than his celebrity status considering he was only in the first movie for like 2 minutes and would be so easy to replace.

Don’t even get me started on The Cursed Child. I’m pretending that never happened.

I’ll be honest, I wrote this post before the trailer for the new Fantastic Beasts movie was released. I’m adding this extra part to it now, because once again JKR has blown my mind, and not in a good way. Apparently, Nagini has always been a cursed woman of color. So one of the only Asian characters in the series was apparently enslaved by Voldy and kept as a pet, milked by Wormtail and then beheaded by Neville. You’re kidding me, right? Right? This has got to be one giant cosmic joke!!

The point is, that I have started to ignore everything that happened after the release of the seventh book. My love for the 7 books will always be there, but that’s where it stops now.

However, this made me incredibly sad. There are so many aspects of the Wizarding World I still want to discover, and so many relationships to explore. Sadly, I no longer trust JKR with any of it. The last thing I want is more stories with exclusively straight, white and able-bodied characters. That’s where fanfiction comes in.

My love for HP fanfiction

I’ve previously written a post on fanfiction, and why I’ve fallen in love with it. If you want to read that one and discover my reasons for reading fanfic in general, feel free to check it out. Today, however, I want to focus on Harry Potter fanfiction, as it has kept my love for the original series alive.

I mentioned earlier that there are so many relationships I want to explore in the Wizarding World, and fanfiction has answered that call for me. I have fallen in love with pairings and ships JKR would never allow to be canon, but should’ve been in my opinion. 

For example, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. At this point, I’ve read so much fanfiction on their ship during their time at Hogwarts that it has become canon in my mind. There’s no way those two didn’t fall in love and you can’t convince me otherwise.

I’ve always wanted to read more about the Marauders in their Hogwarts time, because I think it would be both heart-wrenching and hilarious. Seeing young Remus battle with becoming friends with the Marauders and keeping his secret at the same time, James’ ridiculous behavior towards Lily, and Sirius’ love for the Potters and his motorbike -and Remus.

Fanfiction has filled this gap in with wonderful stories on Wolfstar, and has allowed me to imagine the lives of these wizards in a different and more concrete way. Remus and Sirius have become one of my favorite relationships, and nothing can take that away from me. Not even JKR.

The second aspect of fanfiction that I love, is that it adds the diversity that should’ve been included from the start. Harry being a person of color, him being bisexual, pansexual or gay (I’ve read them all), Draco being gay, Ginny and Luna being together… I just love it all.

Just like I pretend that screenplay never happened, I’m also pretending the epilogue never happened. Sorry, not sorry. I have read SO MANY Drarry fics that it too has become canon in my mind. Although I can be swayed to the Cedric/Harry ship too… There are so many beautiful LGBT+ stories with these characters out there, a lot of them far more realistic (to me) than the actual story’s ending.

Lastly, I adore the nuance fanfiction writers bring to Slytherin house. I feel like Slytherin was somewhat mistreated during the series, and has ended up seen as ‘the evil house’. It’s ridiculous. After all, Pettigrew was a Gryffindor, wasn’t he? The fact that fanfic brings the Slytherin characters to life, and allows them to redeem themselves, is something I will always love. I’ve read so many fics with Pansy and Blaise in them, that I’ve started to become attached to them as well.

Is fanfiction all good?

Of course not. There are so many fanfiction works out there in which the characters don’t feel authentic, or with really weird pairings and ships. Seriously, what is wrong with some of you?? There are stories with horrendous spelling and grammar mistakes too. So I’m not going to pretend it’s all rainbows and unicorns. It’s not. Once you know what to look for, however, a new world will open up to you.

 

12 thoughts on “How fanfiction has saved and carried my love for Harry Potter

  1. Great article. Over time, I’ve come to realise that sometimes the worst fanfiction is actually the retconning and backpedalling of the original creator (I can name dozens of Phantom of the Opera musicalverse fanfics which are infinitely better than Love Never Dies, and don’t get me started on some of the Disney direct-to-video sequels of the late 90s and early 2000s). I used to be a huge supporter of JKR, but I now wish she would just leave canon alone.

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  2. I agree! I also say that I’m a fan of Harry Potter, but I think I mean the over-arching HP umbrella: I like the community of HP more than HP. I’ve only read the books through once and that was, like, ten years ago… I’m sure that I would find so much I didn’t like now. (And the WORST part is that JK feels perfectly entitled to ret-con her entire series. Just accept that you’ve changed and get on with it!) And, like, I know that anything HP-related is going to make a boatload of money, but why stretch a 100-page auxiliary story to five movies?? Regardless of Depp’s casting decision, it just feels gross.

    PS. Finding Himself by Minisinoo is one of my absolute FAVORITE fanfics of all time.

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  3. This.

    I have to admit, I don’t have the HP nostalgia. I finished the series only last year and even then, saw all the glaring problems you talked about. (I might have felt different if I’d read the books as they released, because I was much less critical back then.) But I have read some absolutely wonderful fanfiction that helped patch over some of the problems in the original stories. (And I will not even get started on how much I don’t want anything to do with the Fantastic Beasts movies because there is so much that I, as someone that’s never even watched them, have heard that is wrong with them.) Honestly, for me, I find JKR’s insistence that all this diversity (even if it’s bad diversity) was originally planned out but didn’t make it into the stories just annoying. Like she’s trying to be more progressive, or something. (And, usually, failing miserably.)

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    1. I find it annoying too! Claiming something she never even did, and kind of blaming us all for “assuming” that they were white, cis and straight. That’s not how it works. I think it would be different for me too if I didn’t fall in love with the books as a young reader.

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  4. This is really interesting and I can honestly relate to you. I honestly hope JKR would leave HP alone. I love Fantastic Beast but her behavior and “additions” leave bitter taste for me. Fanfictions are amazing, I love reading about the Marauders era (Jily and Wolfstar?? Perfection) and canon era, but maybe with secret friendship and ~romance~. There are so many possibilities and canon-acceptance between the fandom, it feels like the real franchise!

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  5. I’m totally with you! I have less problems with added movies & books & stuff *as a concept* but the execution is sometimes… not good. Still. Ezra Miller is a precious gift to any franchise and no-one can convince me otherwise. As is Scorpius Malfoy, but he’s fictional.

    Harry Potter has the most, and the most complex, fanfiction of any other fandom I know (in English, anyway.) But that’s kind of how you can tell when something’s worth it.

    Because J K Rowling may not realise it, but she’s human – and humans are limited, flawed, and prone to making mistakes. What she’s created no-one longer belongs just to her. It’s everyone’s now. Like fairy-tales, like mythology, hell, even like Shakespeare or Dickens. It has a life beyond her. She is not needed for the continuation of the franchise. The franchise is a living, breathing, feeling entity with all of the twists, turns, disagreements, and contradictions, of any other living being.

    The test of something’s true merit is how many times it can be adapted, shaped, morphed, changed, made better, made more beautiful, made worse, made more awful, but still remain true to whatever it is that makes people say, ‘Yes, that’s Snow White! That’s Red Riding Hood! That’s Romeo and Juliet! That’s Harry Potter!’ And that spark is what everyone should be aiming for.

    Sorry, this got epically long epically quickly, and I apologise for waxing lyrically about fanfiction in a way that possibly (though hopefully not) came off as pretentious! Lol XD

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    1. I love your comment so much, because you managed to express everything I wanted to say, in a much more poetic and beautiful manner! I agree, at this point the franchise isn’t really hers anymore. Like you said, I don’t have a problem with added content as a concept. It’s the fact that in every added play, book or movie, problematic things keep showing up and she keeps denying it.

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