I’m participating in Harry Potter Month and while this post isn’t really a typical example of what you’ll find there, the idea came from one of the ways we can earn house points – by reading fan fiction. This post is a bit of a ramble and touches on adult topics so if you’re bothered by that (and if your idea of the Harry Potter series is particularly white and shiny), you should probably steer clear and… umm… go read my very clean reviews?
I’ve obviously been aware of the phenomenon that is fan fiction for a while but I never really thought about searching it out. I mostly read traditionally published books, so I don’t even have a lot of experience reading indie/self-published authors. I always thought that fan fic consisted of poorly written fantasies of people who a) refused to accept the fact that their series has ended; b) are rooting for the wrong couple (or, if you’ll let me use the correct lingo: are shipping the wrong ship); or c) are convinced that getting the characters naked would vastly improve the plot.
Was I wrong? Well, I haven’t really read enough fan fiction to decide. I am sure there are hundreds of people who write high-quality fan fiction that actually explores the possible different endings to a story, questions gender stereotypes and so on. And that’s great! (I just haven’t found it yet – not that I’ve conducted a thorough search or anything… so I’d love your recommendations!) I recently found this link of short movies based on Twilight fan fiction. I also have Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl on my to-read list and I intend to read it soon(ish).
But today I happened upon a really (REALLY) raunchy piece of Harry Potter fan fiction (not accessible directly through the HP Month site but you know, one click led to another…) and I’m not entirely sure I’m happy about that (a large part of that is due to the fact that I’ve never seen so many typos in one place…). I mean, sure, if I already read loads of sexy stuff, why shouldn’t I read some more, featuring Hogwarts characters that have grown up a bit? Also, it’s my own fault for reading it – curiosity got the better of me (car crash style).
But now I can’t shake the feeling that these writers are on to something! GAH, how has this never occured to me before? You put teenagers into dorms and tell them to stay there but hello, are they really going to do that? I bet the professors at Hogwarts had a tough job chasing people hooking up behind hidden tapestries and in empty classrooms – Harry’s nighttime forays are proof that there were plenty of opportunities for that.
BUT (this is the third paragraph starting with a but, *sigh*) now I’m really sad that my childhood vision of Harry Potter has been… tainted by this realization that Rowling glossed over a great many topics in her books. Yes, I do realize that the intended audience of her novels was much younger than I am now. But if you were 11 at the time the first book came out, then by the time you finished reading Deathly Hallows, you probably weren’t a kid anymore.
I’m not saying that Rowling should have written about her characters having sex (Though why not? Positive representations of teenage sexual experiences are really hard to find!), it’s just that apart from a couple of stolen kisses, nothing much happens in this regard. This wouldn’t bother me if we weren’t reading the whole story from Harry’s perspective – but if we know about his fears and dreams and all, shouldn’t we at least glimpse his private thoughts on matters of the flesh, too?
So what’s your take on fan fiction? Yay or Nay? If Yay, do you have any specific authors/sites to recommend?
Have you ever thought about this issue with Harry Potter before? Or have I ruined it for you now? (If so, I’m really, really sorry, but you have been warned!)
I’d love to hear from you! :)