The Uninitiated's Guide to Harry Potter Fanfiction

This is a catalog of the reoccurring plots that litter the wonderful world of Harry Potter fanfiction.

Terms you should know before you begin reading. Or searching for a story.

Canon: The Stuff that was written by JKR in 1-7 of the Harry Potter Books

Fanon:The Stuff that is detailed in this entry. Mainly what is common in Fanfiction

AU/AT: Alternate Universe or Alternate Timeline.

H/C:Hurt /Comfort Where someone is hurt, (Harry) and then someone comforts him. (Snape)

IC:In character or in keeping with cannon personality.

OC:Original Character. A character made up purely of the fanfiction writer's imagination, or twisted fantasies. (See Mary Sue)

Mary Sue:An OC characterized by overly idealized and clichéd mannerisms, lacking noteworthy, flaws, and is basically a wish fulfillment fantasy for the author. (cough Self Inserting cough) Really hateable. If your reading avoid them. If your planning on writing get that idea out of your head right now! Also referred to as Gary Stu

OOC:Out of character. When a character's personality vastly differs from cannon, more frowned upon if there isn't a well plotted reason.

PWP:Porn Without Plot or Plot What Plot! Hmm. My favorite. I'm also fond of PPP. Porn Plus Plot.

POV:Point of View. As in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person.

R&R:Means READ and REVIEW please. Authors have degenerated to the point in their evolution where they think that reviews are all that matter and often threaten to withhold chapters or stop writing altogether unless they're satisfied with the amount they get. Gluttonous pigs.

UST:Unresolved Sexual Tension. Yeah, frustrating that. And not just for the characters.

Alternate Paring:Means two characters, not paired together in cannon, are romantically involved, (Shagging).

Shipping:Just another word for paring. Comes from Relationship. In fandom the preference of one pairing over others. Those who do so are called Shippers

Slash, Het, Gen:Okay. Slash refers to homosexual parings;Gents on Gents, yaoi, yuri, etc. Seriously don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Also such a thing as Femslash; Ladies on Ladies.

Het is normal, everyday, boring, Guy with Girl; love, lust, and shagging insuing.

Gen is none of that at all. Rated PG for all you teeny boppers.

Fluff:I like the definition of it on wikipedia. Something to the effect of a fic lacking angst and heavy on the light hearted romance stuff.

WIP:Means work in progress. You should avoid those. Its hard to wait for the author to finish the story although there are some really great stories that are WIPs. Mirror of Maybe by Midnight Blue is one of them but it hasn't been updated since Jan 1st 2006.


Most fics are AU with the release of the entire series but there are other stories and some still being written that are an alternate universe or timeline even with the knowledge of what happened.

A real obvious AU is when the Author changes something from the very beginning that effects the story and/or causes it to drastically differ from canon.

Or when the Author has created an entirely different world or view on the wizarding world that effects the story and can resemble canon but usually just nods towards it occasionally.

Resorted Harry:

When Harry is resorted into one of the other three houses, usually due to something the author has changed or added that affects Harry's personality and causes it to veer from cannon Harry.

More common, or even most common, is Harry is sorted into Slytherin. This can be achieved through simply modifying the Hat to ignore Harry's plea of 'Not Slytherin', to adjusting Harry's character making it impossible to put him any where else, to changing his influences before getting on the train causing him not to protest the hat's decision.

Adopted Harry:

An AU can often begin with Harry being adopted after his parents die and he's left at the Dursleys. Some wait until after Hogwarts years begin before starting that plot and even after Hogwarts ends. Some story's will lead up to that and the offer will come at the end with a satisfying sigh.

Sirius and/or Remus is a popular choice. It usually involves Sirius escaping early, never being sent to Azkaban, or somehow Pettigrew is captured, alive or dead, and the ministry pardons him. Lupin is often a part of the picture as a Marauder, friend, or lover of Sirius Black.

Minerva McGonagall is also a choice. Those who do so note the protest she made at the beginning of book one and go from there either having her ignore Dumbledore's reassurances or later realize she should have.

The Weasleys often adopt Harry. Usually it isn't done early in his childhood but sometime during Hogwarts years after Harry has befriended Ron and/or the other Weasleys.

Dumbledore is sometime a choice but usually it is in tandem with someone. Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, some hidden OC wife of his more frequently he adopts Harry as a Grandson instead of a son.

Severus Snape is possibly the character chosen most often to adopt Harry Potter. This has become a rehashed idea in HP fanfiction and its popularity continues to appeal. The dynamics of such a relationship is rather fun to play with and read, although for the longest time I cracked up at the mention of it. Severitus gave a challenge that has become the popular title given to this genre but really falls into the Not Harry Potter category.

OC's can suddenly pop up and adopt Harry on an Author's whim. This is done to grand, ill, or awkward effect, depending on characterization and skill.

Our Dear Lord Voldie sometimes lures innocent Harry away with promises of power, love, blah blah blah, but as he's a fugitive and can't adopt him legally I really don't count him. According to magic, or the Author's made up fantastics, you can do some ritual, spell, spill lots of blood and BAM your now adopted so I guess thats why I'm mentioning him.

For the plot Harry Was Adopted By The Potter's see below.

Not Harry Potter:

A common plot is Harry finds out he's not a Potter. This entails him having a different dad, a different dad and mum, or even dad and dad. (The Joys of Magic don't ya know.) He then discovers one day that he's changing and loosing all that messy hair, or receives a letter from a dead Potter, or magically discovers his hidden genes through a potion, spell,, etc.

OC's can again take over but usually cannon characters want to claim blood relation to Harry Potter. Again Sirius and Remus can but aren't the usual choice. Dumbledore, McGonagall, Flamel, Malfoy, Voldie, and of course our wonderful, loving, kind Snapeadoodle.

Severus Snape Adopts Harry Potter, or Severitus as the genre has widely become to be known, is one of the largest plot/genre 's of Harry Potter Fanfiction. It could even be said it has its on following. I myself just see it as a PG way of writing Snarry, but that's neither here nor there.

The Term Severitus comes from Severitus himself who gave The Severitus Challenge, located here . and now every fic written with Snape as Harry's real dad is loosely referred to as a Severitus although Sevitus is used to identify a fic that doesn't follow the challenge rules.

James and Lily Not Dead:

In one of these James and Lily Potter are alive and well. Obviously. They raise Harry sometimes, others they give him to the Dursleys, an orphanage, or he runs away due to their neglect and/or abuse.

In other instances there is a whole different time line going on, or POOF they show up from the past, or POP they pop in from an alternate reality. Sometime Harry does the popping.

You could include Sirius in the POOF your alive suddenly. That happens too. See options above.

Sibling Who Lived:

Where one of Harry's siblings is thought to be the one who defeated Voldie that first time, and sometimes proves true. In these James and Lily are usually alive, ( cause they have to get busy and have more kids don't ya know), and more often than not Harry is neglected and/or abused. Dumbledore frequently decides arbitrarily who is the savior yada yada yada.

Usually by the end of one of these Harry's become extremely skilled in magic and ends up killing Voldie for the last time. Well except in those fics where he joins him.

Abused Harry:

Everyone loves to abuse Harry. Authors that is. This genre is usually where Harry is abused by the Dursleys. It is usually the really drastic abuse you see in this genre.

Harry usually comes away with physical and/or emotional scaring. Malnutrition and its results are common with how everyone views Harry, not to mention the distrust of authority, and a rather poor sense of self esteem.

In these fics it taken much farther. Phobias abound, sometime Harry suffers a disablement, (Blind, Deaf, Dumb, etc.) but that usually falls under its own minor genre. Rape seems common, as the worst way the Dursleys could stoop to abuse him, and Harry the emotional wounds in that aftermath. Usually fics that go this far follow along the lines of the Powerful, Independent, or Dark Harry and equally as oftenHurt Harry.

These sort of fics usually lead to adoption and a hurt/comfort story with or without slash involved.

Super Harry:

This is where Harry becomes all powerful and the stores tend to become rather fantastically unbelievable. There are some exceptions, those are usually very well written, but others tend to just be annoying. I do admit to suffering through a few and even enjoying some.

Harry comes into an inheritance on his birthday, (see Creature Harry), and gains multiple powers that no one else has.

Harry starts studying like mad and learns everything he could possibly want to know in a single summer.

Harry rebels against the people, (Dumbledore, Voldemort) who control him and arranges to take control of his life.

All of these or some of these tend to happen in one of these fics along with finding more money in his vaults then anyone could possibly imagine and the shopping trip where he buys everything he's always wanted and finds a ton of knew magical gizmos.

Dark Harry:

Here Harry goes dark. Either he becomes a dark wizard or a dark lord.

Often he takes up against Dumbledore and Voldemort.

Sometimes he joins Voldemort and co-rules with him, helping to take over the wizarding world.

Other times Voldie steals him away and raises him as his heir. The prophesy usually still applies but sometimes its fantastically thrown out the window.

A reoccurring plot is where those on light side become the bad guy and hurt Harry much more than anything Voldie and his Death Munchers ever did. I've seen this begin with the obvious manipulation by Dumbles and go as far as him being raped and beaten by people he trusts. Sometimes Dumbledore is really a dark wizard in disguise as a light lord and Voldemort is the angelic victim. Other times Dark is just a classification and doesn't really mean evil.

Creature Harry:

This is where Harry finds out he has creature blood in his background and upon a certain birthday, usually the 17th or 16th, he gains lots of power and/or physical characteristics of a magical creature. This can be cannon but usually is completely made up. Usually its just an excuse to make him all powerful, tall, and get rid of those glasses and the messy hair.

A popular choice is the Veela Fic. Harry finds out he's a veela, has a mate, and all that entails.

Not as popular as veela is the vampire plot. He usually finds out he's one during an inheritance but sometime is bitten. Theres a whole sub genre devoted to the belief that Snape is a vampire too and turns him.

Not really named but common is the plot where he's a creature with wings.

Time Travel:

There are a lot of time travel fics out there. Its a common plot idea that spurs authors to try their hand despite the numerous fics of that genre that litter the fanfiction world. These fics usually ignore the rules of the time turner and send him back willy nilly according to the author's whim.

Harry goes back in time to his parents corresponding school year or goes back and teaches them. That has many possibilities and I recommend everyone try to find a good one.

Other times Harry starts over again, and his mind/soul/powers are sent back to his younger self. Again many possibilities. I'm very fond of this genre cause I like it that Harry knows whats going on and no one else does.

Another is he comes back and tells himself to do something that changes everything.


This is a huge part of Harry Potter fanfiction. I haven't read many good fics that don't center around a good romance.

There of course is the het parings; HP/GW, HP/HG, Hp/NT, Hp/Ll, etc. This is often torn to shreds by turning Harry into a girl and paring him with guys. Still het but kinda ruins the entire notion of slash.

Slash is homosexual pairings. Harry gets it on with a guy. Snarry and Drarry are the most common but there are a lot of HP/LV or HP/TRM. That means he's shagging Voldie darlins. There are actually parings for just about anything, but I find the slash fics are the ones where you find the better written fanfiction. You have to search for it, and indulge in the mundane and silly just for kicks, but there are fics that tear you heart out and those usually are slash.

Again OC's tend to crop up in both het and slash. In het see Mary Sue. In slash there aren't many, or if there are I don't read them.

If your a virgin better start with some easy, short, fics. You'll appreciate the darker, longer, and well written better if you do. Not to mention they're hard to find.

is a grand source for the newbies. If you want to search yourself type in Harry Potter fanfiction in google or a specific paring or genre you want followed by a 'rec list'. Snoogle has some awesome fics and if your looking for those really good one try painless_j's recommendations. She has the most awesome website and everything she recommends is pure genius. She also happens to be a great writer as well. Also livejournal as I'm sure you must know.

So thats is. The next post I'm planning on is a small rec list that will give you a good start on what to read one for each genre. If there are long time fanfiction readers reading this then leave me a note of anything I missed or what you think I should add to the next post.

Thanks for reading darlins. I hope I've swayed you to the side of the lonely, fanatic, and obsessed.


P.S. : A Nice Reviewer left some more information for me and you to chew on. Can you believe I've never heard of EWE?

Also, YES!!!!!! This is a biased view on my opinion of fanfiction. Get over it!

And I am aware that there are no pairings and this is NOT an actual story. I put up characters cause those are my favorites and I was sure to get more readers.

I welcome any additions and comments that aren't stupid.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


P.P.S : Another Nice Reviewer left some more. I couldn't resist adding it 'cause although I almost never read xovers I'm the biggest snarry(dom snape) fan out there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


2009-06-06 . chapter 1

You left out EWE -- Epilogue, what epilogue? - which stands for stories which are set after DH and are canon compatible up to the end of DH but ignore the epilogue, usually so that Snape can be retrieved from the Shack alive, but also so that writers can play with Ministry politics.

You will also come across the term "self-insert". This is a character more or less based on the author. Many people confuse this with a Mary Sue (the male equivalent btw is a Marty Stu or Gary Stu), but there's nothing wrong with a realistic, un-idealised self-insert, and many great characters in literature are self-inserts.

You also need the terms "lemon", a sex-scene, and "lime", a very explicit sex-scene. I personally wish to propose the addition of the term "plum", a sex-scene written in embarrasingly purple prose.

Canon is more complex than that, too. It comes in layers.

First-rank canon is the published books - not just the novels but also Beedle, Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages.

Then there's semi-published items such as the Famous Wizard cards, which are canon so long as they don't contradict the books.

Thwen there's statements by JK on her website, which are canon so long as they don't contradict the two layers above.

Then there are interviews and livechats by JK, and various drawings and supplementary documents by her, which are semi-canon so long as they don't cointradict the layers above. If two interviews contradict each other, the one which seems to ahve had more thought put into it is to be preferred. If both are equal, then the most recent.

There's also the films to consider, which differ considerably from the books, and are a sort of licensed fanfic.

2009-06-07 . chapter 1

I wold also add - Harry related to Hogwart's Founders or Merlin; La Fey etc - to the ''Heiritage'' category;
you completely omitted Xovers which can also be a lot of fun (Harry = Daniel Jackson always makes me lol :D);
and finally you forgot to mention Drabbles - a very shot stories (usually around 100 words long) that presents one scene story (usually angsty or humorous). I don't really read a lot of drabbles but some of them can be very unconventional (I love Breathe series :P)

SLASHY SNARRY RULEZ! (assuming that Harry is NOT a dominant)