Harry Potter

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Harry Potter is a series of seven fantasy novels written by British author J. K. Rowling. The books chronicle the adventures of the adolescent wizard Harry Potter and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The central story arc concerns Harry's struggle against the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry's parents in his quest to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical people (Muggles). Several successful derivative films, video games and other themed merchandise have been based upon the series.

Fan Fiction

The first fan fiction did not arrive until 1999. On September 4, 1999, "Harry Potter and the Man of Unknown" by Gypsy became the first Harry Potter fan fiction posted to FanFiction.Net, what was to become the largest archive of Harry Potter fan fiction on the net, reaching over 250,000 stories by June of 2006 and 431,000 stories by November of 2009.

The Harry Potter fan fiction community redefined what a large on-line community meant. Prior to this, the largest community was the X-Files community. The size, shape and actions of the community would be defined by the sheer number of new people who came into the fan fiction community, shaping it in their own ways. The relative access to youthful members as a large component of the community with an educated elite at the top helped set a stage for a fandom that would be driven by a cult of personality, a cult whose size and scope had never been seen in fandom before.

The Author

Joanne Murray (born Rowling) was born on July 31, 1965 in Chipping Sodbury, England.[1]

Because her publishers feared that boys would not read a book series if they knew it was written by a woman, Murray went by the pseudonym "J.K. Rowling."


Some parts of the Harry Potter fan fiction community consider the movies to be canon. Some do not. Murray's interviews and posts on her website are frequently considered to be part of the canon as they help explain things, such as what the name "Ginny" is short for. However, some fans say they would rather she explain these things within the canonical books and do not consider Murray's interviews and or her website canon. These fans sometimes cite inconsistencies in her interviews, such as differences between book evidence for the Weasley children's ages and her own estimates presented in interviews.


The following are terms that have been used in the Harry Potter fan fiction community:

  • Angst is a piece of fan fiction that is emotionally wrenching or a piece where a character deals with an emotionally distressing situation. In certain fandoms, angst has a derogatory over tone as it compares to melodrama. In this context, this term is often used in the Harry Potter fandom. The use of the term predates 1997.
  • Dark! is a name prefix that tells the reader that the story or characterization is a dark one. An example would be Dark!Harry. In this case, the story or characterization discussion would focus and focus on Harry Potter in dark way.
  • Dubcon refers to fan fiction which features stories where there are dubious consent issues.
  • Slash - homosexual relationship. Slash fanfiction (Slashfic) is VERY common in Harry Potter, some famous pairings being Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter and Severus Snape, etc. None of these pairings are true to canon, however. Unless, that is, you accept Murray's interviews as canon, in which case Dumbledore/Grindewald may be considered canonical.
  • Twincest refers to an incestuous relationship between twins, such as between Fred and George.
  • Hurt/Comfort refers a story in which the story tension rides on one or more of the characters getting badly hurt, followed by the other comforting them.

Popular Ships

See Harry Potter Pairings.

Fan fiction policy and history

Interviews with the author

In an interview found on Scholastic's web site, Murrays is quoted as saying the following about fan fiction based on the Harry Potter books: "I've read some of it. I find it very flattering that people love the characters that much." [2]

In an interview found on Barnes & Nobles's web site dated September 8, 1999, Murray is quoted as saying the following about fan fiction based on the Harry Potter books: "Yes, I do. And I have been staggered by the response. I only recently found the web pages devoted to Harry, and it was like Christmas -- Christmas in August." [3]

In another interview dated October 20, 2000 found on Barnes & Nobles's web site, Murray is once again quoted regarding fan fiction:

Hello, I would like to know if you ever read any Harry Potter fan fiction on the Web.
I have read some, and I've been very flattered to see how absorbed people are in the world.

Murray mentioned dealing with fan mail in a July 2000 interview with Newsweek. The interviewer, Malcom Jones, asked her if she answered her fan mail. Murray replied with the following:

Yeah. I have help now. But letters get - I don't know if I should actually say this in NEWSWEEK. I have a set of criteria for letters I want to see personally, so they will get filtered and they will get handwritten replies. I get letters from children addressed to Professor Dumbledore [headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the books' setting], and it's not a joke, begging to be let into Hogwarts, and some of them are really sad. Because they want it to be true so badly they've convinced themselves it's true. So those are some that get pulled. [4]

Fan sites and the Internet are mentioned in an interview in the fall of 2000 with Murray by the BBC. She said:

The Internet! Twice I've been on the internet. Friends of mine were telling me what's on there and I'd never gone looking before. First time, I thought I was never coming back, it's too scary. Some of the stuff that's out there is very weird. Second time I went in there someone had set up an unofficial fan site where you can be sorted, they have a Sorting Hat, and I was Hufflepuff. I wasn't that pleased! If anyone's meant to be Griffyndor, it's me. [5]

On November 26, 2007, JK Rowling all but gave her official blessing on fan fiction. [6] [7]


This acceptance of Harry Potter fan fiction seems be okay with Scholastic. Arthur Levine, a co-editor of the fourth Harry Potter book, said in an interview for USA Today that is is "just fantastic" and "It's the highest compliment you could possibly pay to a work of imaginative fiction that the reader would be so involved and feel so much a part of the world of a book that they would want to go there and stretch their imagination." [8]

Warner Brothers

Warner Brothers, who owns the copyright to much of the Harry Potter franchise, is not always as kind. (For more information on who really owns, click here. JK Rowlings apparently abandoned her application.)They have gone after people who have used Harry Potter on their web sites and aggressively fought for the rights to domains related to Harry Potter. This has shut down a few Harry Potter fan sites with some fan fiction. There has been no real effort on the part of Warner Brothers to seek to put an end to Harry Potter fan fiction.

In an article titled "When HarryTM Met Selling" in Chico News and Review dated November 15, 2001, the idea that Warner Brothers won't go after fans writing slash is confirmed when it says:

A pornographic fan fiction chain email has already criss-crossed the nation (A fan called only C-ko described Harry and his enemy Draco getting ... carried away). Rumor has it that the new corporate folk want to clamp down on the more erotically inclined Harry Potter fans on-line. But surely they'll never be so foolish as to threaten the vast self-perpetuating viral marketing machine that is their on-line fan culture. [9]

Rediff Guide to the Net confirms the concept that Warner Brother has taken a negative view of Harry Potter slash but have, so far, taken no action in an article titled "The Secret Life of Harry Potter" dated December 19, 2001. [10]

In an article from the San Francisco Chronicle dated November 18, 2001, Harry Potter WB related executives released a statement regarding Harry Potter fan fiction:

"It is not only our legal obligation, but also our moral obligation to protect the integrity of our intellectual properties," the statement says. "This is especially true in the case of indecent infringement of any icon whose target audience is children." [11]
Although Warner Bros. goes on to declare its commitment to "protecting First Amendment rights," it appears that billable hours are about to start piling up. [12]
"We are considering all our options," the statement concludes.[13]

For general information regarding Harry Potter law suits and other activities by Warner Brothers and Nancy Stouffer not referencing fan fiction, please see HPFGU Lawsuits FAQ.

In August 2007, allegations came up that Warner Brothers was putting pressure on LiveJournal to remove material from pornish pixies. This was mentioned in two places. The first said:

Obviously, as said above, I removed the art anyway, despite what I said in my response. I posted to speculate on the possible reasons for them deciding my age statement was inadequate, as well as touching on the fact that, according to this post by khohen1, Warner Bros themselves sent a Cease and Desist to LJ regarding a locked post on PP. Chances are fairly high that their C&D was regarding my post.
Case and point: Today they received something along the lines of cease and desist from Warner Bros, regarding a LOCKED post, that is not open to the public. WB was obviously informed of said illegal/iffy content by someone in the community who is probably there acting as a troll to stir shit up. I know this has happened before, to other communities, most notably the media sharing communities.
This is why this stuff is happening, you guys. If us LJers could keep quiet and not stir shit up that doesn't need to be stirred, LJ could continue to blithely ignore us and let us on our merry way. It's when we start turning on ourselves that we bring the heat down on us." [14]

The second confirmation said:

She didnt' actually give me details, her point in telling me this was that no, it's not just the fringe radical groups that are noticing this kind of stuff, there are actual big corporations that literally spend millions of dollars a year on lawyers that deal with this specific kind of crap, that do contact LJ about stuff like this. And also to highlight the point that it's the people within our own ranks that are shitting on our parade. THAT is why LJ is having to pay attention, and honestly? Not blaming them there. [15]

On August 19, 2007, the following appeared in article by Murdo Macleod in The Scotsman, a Scottish newspaper:

Slash porn
LAWYERS for the promoter of the Harry Potter films are clamping down on so-called 'slash porn' featuring the world-famous boy wizard.
It is estimated that there are more than 700 websites worldwide publishing lurid homosexual tales about the lead character in the best-selling books by JK Rowling.
Mainly penned by women, the genre has seen Harry Potter caught in flagrant with a variety of other males featured in the series.
The authors steadfastly refuse to accept that their work is pornography, claiming instead it is an art form.
But now websites used by the 'slash porn' writers are being closed down after legal warnings.
The bizarre craze started about five years ago in the United States but it has now become such a huge global problem that a decision has been made to act.
But the move to shut down the sites has not been universally welcomed.
One online contributor recently wrote: "Some Harry Potter fans have had, for a long time, those kind of fantasies about the characters.
"Slash fans are not new nor rare. I understand that it goes against some policies to publish this kind of stuff but, again, people are allowed to have their own fantasies.
"If they can't put them on this website they'll just start one of their own."
A spokesman for AOL Time Warner, which owns the film rights to Harry Potter and which has been instrumental in cracking down on 'slash porn', said they were determined to maintain their character's image.
He added that it was their "moral obligation" to act: "This is especially true in the case of indecent infringement of any icon whose target audience is children."[16]

The Fandom



Based on keyword searching for "harry potter," more women than men are using search engines to look for Harry Potter information on the Internet.


Based on keyword searching for "harry potter slash," more men than women are using search engines to look for that material.

Having babies

The Harry Potter fan fiction community tends to not deal much with babies in the present timeline for most heterosexual pairings. Characters like Ron and Hermione might have children but only after they age to a time when they can give consent. In that case, the babies don't tend act as plot devises to bring characters together but to show a committment as a couple, in a pre-existing relationship. The reader is generally left to understand that the pair is a given for the story, with out a back story needing to be established.

Exceptions to that is the Snape/Harry (Snarry) and Harry/Draco (Drarry) pairings. These pairings are frequently the subject of mpreg, although mpreg is used as a plot device for other slash pairings. It is frequently used in humor or angst in stories.


For a timeline of Livejournal community creations, see Harry Potter LiveJournal timeline. For a mailing list timeline, see Harry Potter mailing list timeline.


  • The first Harry Potter book was published in the United Kingdom by Bloomsbury Publishing.[17] The first edition had 500 hardback copies.[18]



I remember Gypsy too, but I didn't actually read fic back then, I just read about it in the discussions over at Amazon.com's Harry Potter boards. That would be a fun chapter of fandom history to write on. The HP board at Amazon was huge. And then overnight, about a month or so before GoF came out, it vanished. No warning, no trace. All posts were lost, the members scattered, the-site-that-must-not-be-named refused to comment on exactly why the boards were pulled. [27]






  • By this time, general English language based message boards in Asian countries or for Asians living in English speaking countries started adding or having represented fan fiction communities. Many of these sites and boards were catering to younger writers between the ages of eleven and eighteen.
  • In April, the Harry Potter fan fiction community discussed the issue of "Is the Harry Potter fan fiction community dying?" fandomquibbler)
  • In June, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released in theaters.
  • On July 21, 2004, hogwarts_elite was founded. [citation needed]
  • By 2004, a number of X-files fan fiction writers who were part of the "Yes Virginia" group of fan fiction authors had migrated to other fandoms, such as Harry Potter, bringing their traditions of machete beta reading with them.
  • At Eclecticon 2004, many fandoms were represented with their own panels, including Harry potter.




Harry Potter gen, het, slash mentions on blogs according to IceRocket for the past three months as of June 28, 2007.
Harry Potter concepts: badfic, Mary Sue, slash mentions on blogs according to IceRocket for the past three months as of June 28, 2007.
Chart generated August 14, 2007 comparing discussion of Harry Potter, CSI and Naruto fan fiction in the past six months.

See Strikethrough



  • In early January 2009, the Gawker reported that LiveJournal had laid off 20 of its 28 staff members. They also characterized the site as being home to "troublesome clique of Harry Potter erotica writers, whose outré tastes ran afoul of LiveJournal's efforts to comply with U.S. child-pornography laws." [62]
  • In June 2009, Harry Potter fans who tried to download the newest movie online before it had been released in theaters had their credit card numbers stolen. [63] According to Sky:
Cybercriminals are planting links on blogging websites to tempt eager punters to watch the soon to be released Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for free.
Clicking the link opens a new page where the Potter potty are apparently just a press of the mouse away from an early premiere.
But first lovers of JK Rowling's fantastical creations are told they must download and install a "streamviewer" in order to watch it.
Like a bad spell the streamweaver downloads "malware" which secretly records personal information such as passwords, and bank card numbers.
These details are gathered by hackers often working for organised crime networks and sold on. [64]


This section needs more information.


See Cassandra Claire, Charity Wank, Meyshi and Fandom Wank.

The Internet

Social Networking/Blog Sites



Parts of the Harry Potter LiveJournal community left LiveJournal in 2007 as a result of StrikeThrough and BoldThrough. This move was further helped by the sale of LiveJournal to a Russian company, SUP.


LiveJournal has played an important role in the Harry Potter fandom. Its growth was fueled by people transitioning from mailing lists to the service because of icons, the ability to customize pages, the ability to be more off topic. Some of the more influential Harry Potter LiveJournal communities include pornish pixies and hp_girlslash.

See Harry Potter LiveJournal communities for a list of Harry Potter LiveJournal communities and details regarding their specific histories. See Harry Potter LiveJournal timeline for a timeline of community creation dates.

Mailing Lists

Mailing lists were key to the early organization of the Harry Potter fandom. They were first created in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Influential mailing lists include HPforGrownups and HP Paradise.

See Harry Potter mailing lists for information on specific mailing list histories.


There was a small base for the Harry Potter fandom on usenet by 2000.

Influential fanworks

This section needs more information.

Fandom Members

See Harry Potter fans.

Fandom size

As of November 22, 2006 there are 1,617 on Twisting the Hellmouth [70] and 273,736 on FanFiction.Net. [71]

As of May 23, 2007, there are 507 Harry Potter stories on FanLib. [72]

As of December 7, 2007, there are 971 Harry Potter stories on FanLib [73] and 331,844 on FanFiction.Net. [74]

As of February 19, 2008, there are 1377 Harry Potter stories on FanLib. [75], 2023 on Twisting the Hellmouth [76], and 343,429 on FanFiction.Net. [77]

As of May 3, 2008, there are 1740 Harry Potter stories on FanLib. [78], 2070 on Twisting the Hellmouth [79], and 9,509 on FanFiction.Net. [80]

External Links

See also


See also Harry Potter bibliography.

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