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Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by J.K. Rowling between 1997 and 2007, following the adventures of an adolescent wizard named Harry Potter and his two friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The main story arc revolves around the conflict between Harry and an evil wizard named Voldemort. The series became incredibly popular among youths and adults alike and is often credited with introducing an entire generation of children to reading. Thematically, it is a coming-of-age story, and has many subplots relating to self-discovery and overcoming the challenges of life.
The novels were made into a highly successful series of eight movies between 2001 and 2011, introducing the series to a wider fanbase. Despite being largely book- and film-centered, the series maintains a large online presence and has generated lots of fan art and fanfiction.
The first book in the Harry Potter series, entitled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was released on June 30th, 1997. The first three books were published and released solely in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury before the books were picked up for worldwide release by Scholastic Press in the US. Tehe last book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released on July 21, 2007. The series has received worldwide acclaim, and has been translated into 67 languages. The last four books set records for being the fastest selling books ever, due to eager readers who purchased the newest books as soon as they were released. Additionally, the series is noted for help boosting literacy in young children. In 2006, American publisher Scholastic conducted a study finding that 51% of Harry Potter readers between ages 5 and 17 did not read for fun before the series.
The series has also been adapted into a successful film series with movies released between 2001 and 2011. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was split into two films, allowing for more content to be covered. The film series has been very well received, and has grossed over $7.7 billion. With the release of the final film on July 15th, 2011, the series officially “ended.”
Pottermore is a website created by J.K. Rowling for people wishing to stay connected to the _Harry Potter) universe after the end of the book and film series. Its content is similar to an alternate-reality game (ARG), in that it features games and quests intended to enhance the experience of reading the books. Initial registration for the closed beta release began on July 31st, 2011, with the first million fans who completed a series of challenges being allowed to register. On April 14th, 2012, registration was opened to everyone. As of May 2012, the interactive experiences available are limited to the first novel.
On July 8th, 2014, J.K. Rowling added a short story to Pottermore in the form of an article in The Daily Prophet, the newspaper in the wizarding world, written by Harry Potter character Rita Skeeter. The article, titled “Dumbledore’s Army Reunite at Quidditch World Cup Final” features updates on the lives of Harry, Hermione, Ron, and other key characters from the book series in 2014, meaning Harry is 34.
The article revealed details about the characters’ careers, for example Hermione now works as the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and descriptions of their physical appearance, for example Harry has gained another scar on his cheek. Other characters mentioned include Bill and Fleur Weasley, their daughter Victoire, Teddy Lupin (the son of the late Remus and Tonks), Charlie Weasley, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. Many sites published lists of things that could be learned from the article the same day, including Buzzfeed, AndPop and Mashable. Also on July 8th, Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as Potter in the films, expressed disinterest in reprising his role in any adaptations of the short story, saying of the story:
“I haven’t read it yet, though I will. But my understanding is that it’s very short, not worthy of adaptation to film.”
On the internet, Harry Potter fan sites devoted to the series began appearing as early as 1999 with the now-defunct Harry Potter Network. The following year, both MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron were created, both of which are active as of May 2012. In 2003, The Harry Potter Lexicon was established, offering a full encyclopedia to the Potterverse. The Harry Potter Wiki has more than 10,000 unique pages on the site.
The Harry Potter series has garnered a large following of both children and adults, due to the books’ accessibility to both audiences. “Pottermania” was coined in 1999 to describe the intense love fans have for the series. The fandom is considered large enough to have its own Wikipedia page. There are more than 300 LiveJournal communities that list “Harry Potter” as an interest, an active Tumblr tag, Twitter hashtag and more than 489,000 pieces of fan art for the series on deviantArt as of May 2012.
Harry Potter fanfiction is abundant, with more than 468,500 stories found on Fanfiction.net as of May 2012. There are also several sites dedicated to Potterverse stories including Harry Potter Fanfiction, established in February 2001, The Sugar Quill from June 2001 and a LiveJournal community created in 2003. Additionally, fanfiction has a separate category on the fansite MuggleNet. There are also adult-themed fiction communities like Erised, the Restricted Section and LiveJournal community Pornish Pixies, which was taken offline for several days by LiveJournal administrators without warning in 2007 for containing inappropropriate search terms.
There are also a variety of fan creations that have become “fanon” (fan-canon), which are chronicled on the Harry Potter Fanon Wiki. In 2012, actor Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort) was asked to read an especially racy fanfiction, Broken Innocence on the Bravo talk show Watch What Happens Live.
The main characters of the series often have been subject to shipping</a on Tumblr, with many shippers torn between which of the two main male characters, Harry or Ron, the female lead, Hermione, should ultimately end up with. Crush, a directory of Harry Potter fan sites dedicated to different ship pairings, was created in 2007. The fandom’s obsession with Harry’s romantic pursuits was also featured in an August 2005 article on the San Francisco Gate and in the Albany, NY newspaper Times Union in March 2007.
J.K. Rowling commented on the love triangle and shipping within the fandom in July 2005, stating that she felt it was clear that Ron and Hermione would be together throughout the first five books. She also noted that she found Harry/Hermione shippers to be militant and overly energetic about being right, often being overly harsh on Ron’s character, but found the whole culture extraordinary. Following this interview, MuggleNet chronicled several dozen posts about Rowling’s comments from a Harry/Hermione forum that called it “ridiculous” and “blasphemous,” going as far as to call Rowling talentless.
JK Rowling on Hermione and Ron
On February 2nd, 2014, The Sunday Times published selections from an interview with Harry Potter star Emma Watson and JK Rowling that will be published in the February/ March issue of Wonderland magazine. In the interview Rowling discusses Ron and Hermione’s relationship saying:
“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”
The author also expressed her ambiguous feeling towards the fictional couple in retrospect, adding:
“If I’m absolutely honest, distance has given me perspective on that. It was a choice I made for very personal reasons, not for reasons of credibility. Am I breaking people’s hearts by saying this? I hope not.”
Rowling’s explanation of the pairing caused a backlash from media outlets and fans on Tumblr, where many reacted to the author’s comment in disappointment and even anger, while some predicted that this may spark a shipping war between those who are behind Hermione/Ron and those who prefer Hermione/Harry as a couple.
On February 3rd, Entertainment Weekly published a piece titled “Regrets over Ron/Hermione pairing?! An open letter to J.K. Rowling” which criticizes Rowling for adding canonical details to the series so long after the conclusion of the series. On February 4th, Flavorwire published an op-ed titled “Let’s Stop Pretending There’s a Love Triangle in ‘Harry Potter,’” which speculated that Rowling’s remark may have been aimed at fueling the Harry Potter love triangle in the light of similar fandom trends found in some of the more recent novels for young adults, such as Twilight and The Hunger Games.
My Immortal / The Worst Fanfiction Ever
My Immortal was written in 2006 by fanfiction.net user Tara Gillesbie. It is often considered to be the worst fanfiction ever written due to its abysmal grammar, preposterous plot featuring members of rock band My Chemical Romance and unexplained shipping. It gained further notoriety due to the large number of dramatic readings and parodies that have been created.
The Draco Trilogy
The Draco Trilogy consists of the stories Draco Dormiens, Draco Sinister and Draco Veritas. They were written by American author Cassandra Clare between 2000 and 2006. The series is known for helping create a fanbase for an alternate portrayal of the antagonist character known as Fanon Draco. While Draco is portrayed as a coward and bully in the novels and films, in fanfiction, Draco has been commonly viewed as a misunderstood anti-hero.
In June 2001, Clare was banned from Fanfiction.net after a plagiarized paragraph from a Pamela Dean novel was found in the ninth chapter of Draco Sinister. However, since the first installment was one of the most popular stories on Fanfiction.net at the time, Clare’s fans fought to get it back online, which was the catalyst for the creation of FictionAlley several months later as a new home for the fanmade novels. LiveJournal community Fandom Wank chronicled the drama surrounding The Draco Trilogy in 2006, followed by a lengthy blog post two years later detailing the history of the conflict by the user that found the plagiarism.
The Draco Trilogy is also known for coining the term “Draco in Leather Pants.” Since he is described as wearing them throughout the story, the phrase went on to describe the way a fandom can retool a villain to make them desirable or deserving of empathy. This technique is frequently referenced on Tumblr and explained on TV Tropes.
You’re a Wizard, Harry!
You’re a Wizard, Harry! is a phrase spoken to Harry Potter by Hagrid, the gamekeeper of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, informing him that he is a wizard. Harry had been previously unaware of this, and this fact completely changed Harry’s life; he went from being absolutely miserable to being joyful and excited overnight. Online, it is a catchphrase frequently used on forums to express a tone of extreme condescension, as if the poster is having to explain something very simple to someone very stupid.
Severus Snape, who is played by Alan Rickman in the films, is the potions master of Hogwarts school and one of the main antagonists throughout the Harry Potter series. However, in the last book, he is revealed to be a tragic hero. His constantly acerbic attitude and wit, as well as the revelations in the last book, have made him a fan favorite. Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the character in the film series only increased fan interest and Snape is frequently featured in fan art and fanfics.
Ten Points from Gryffindor
“Ten Points from Gryffindor” (or alternatively to Gryffindor) is a phrase commonly used throughout the series. In the books, the four houses of Hogwarts (Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, Slytherin, and Gryffindor) use a merit point system called House Points. The points are added for good behaviour and are removed for poor behaviour. Snape was particularly fond of removing points from Gryffindor for questionable reasons, often because of personal grudge against Harry. Online, the phrase is used in a similar context; it is used in forums and image boards to comment on both good and bad behaviour, and is most often used facetiously to poke fun at fails.
Snape Kills Dumbledore
Previous to the sixth book’s release, a scanned page from a preview copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince began circulating online, spoiling the scene in which Severus Snape kills Albus Dumbledore, Harry’s mentor/guide and the headmaster of Hogwarts. A LiveJournal community named _dumbledoredies was created on July 15th, 2005, featuring neon colored GIFs with spoilers in a large font. It mass-friending users who had Harry Potter listed as an interest, causing commotion among the fans on the site. The scan of the book also inspired several YTMND sites and fan reaction videos, which show fans in tears after reading the scene.
Potter Puppet Pals
Potter Puppet Pals is a YouTube series started in 2006 by Flash animator Neil Cicierega, using puppet versions of the main characters from the Harry Potter universe in humorous or satirical situations. The first episode was released in September 2006 as a flash animation on Albino Blacksheep. In March 2007, Cicierga debuted a version with hand-made puppets on YouTube with an episode titled The Mysterious Ticking Noise, which has been viewed more than 126 million times as of May 2012. Potter Puppet Pals has spawned many fan responses and knock-off series.
No Post on Sundays
No Post on Sundays refers to a remembrance event orchestrated by Harry Potter fans on March 31, 2013, in memory of actor Richard Griffiths, known for his portrayal of Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter films. “No post on Sundays!” was a quote spoken by Uncle Vernon, and in memory of Griffiths, Potter fans refrained from posting on community sites, such as FunnyJunk, Reddit, and Tumblr.
Search interest for Harry Potter has remained consistently high, spiking around the release dates of the books and films.
f31. Fan History Wiki – Pornish Pixies
Entertainment Weekly- Regrets over Ron/Hermione pairing?! An open letter to J.K. Rowling