Author has written 6 stories for Harry Potter.
Griffin/Gryphon: the body of a lion with the head and wings of an eagle – the king of beasts and the king of birds – combined in a legendary creature associated with the divine and guardian of precious treasure
Door: entrance or portal –
Howdy! I’m a Harry Potter fan from the southeastern US and – if allowed to attend Hogwarts – I would have been a close contemporary of the Marauders. I am probably most like Remus, although my little problems are thankfully not of the "furry" nature. I’m not exactly sure why I appreciate the young wizard’s tale so much, but I’m forever grateful to JK Rowling for bringing it to us.
Harry’s parallel magical world is at times somewhat fractured and a few inconsistencies have shown here and there, and JKR has acknowledged she is not perfect, admitting that maths are not her strongest subject. However, this fantasy world’s whimsy and illogical disorder are some of its most endearing qualities, providing a healthy dose of humor and a reminder that we have stepped outside of our own reality. Because JKR provides so much rich detail, we tend to forget that first and foremost, she is telling a story, and sometimes characters and plots are manipulated to achieve an effect, rather than fill every imaginable plot hole and missing backstory with some rational explanation. I believe it's a great compliment to JKR that so many readers are deeply interested in her creation, whether to praise or to nitpick.
While awaiting the publication of the final seventh book, I discovered the bizarre world of fan fiction. Although I don’t relate to slash, nor do I have any interest in Next-Generation original characters, I truly enjoy the seemingly infinite possibilities that others have woven within the rich fabric of JK Rowling’s tapestry, from canon missing moments to such far-out ideas that “alternate universe” seems a woefully inadequate description.
Of particular note are the fanon creations that have taken on such a life of their own that we occasionally forget that they are not part of the original books at all:
Wards – a borrowed term, non-existent in JKR’s magical vocabulary. She prefers enchantments or charms.
Magical Cores, Soul Bonds, Wizard’s Oaths – among many others, absent from the books. Surprised?
Wizarding nobility – the only canon flavor of magical Lord is Dark. And relating to that –
Noble and Ancient Houses – don’t truly exist. The self-aggrandizing Blacks probably invent the term because of their pure-blood mania. They see themselves as "practically royal", ironically fitting with their pretense to be “Always Pure” by disowning any members of the family they deem unworthy.
Charlus and Dorea (Black) Potter – are not Harry’s close relatives, otherwise Sirius would mention it as they examine the Black tapestry. Sirius was closer to James Potter's parents than his own family. Also, Dorea’s age at death does not fit JKR’s description of James' mother.
Wealthy Potters – JKR mentions that James inherits enough wealth to avoid steady employment, but that doesn't mean that the coin passed on will not fit into the small reach-in Gringotts vault left in trust to Harry. There is no family vault, manor, etc. to indicate the Potters are anything above well-to-do middle class, nor is there any evidence that they are big in politics or anything else. Harry lives conservatively nineteen years later, even with both he and Ginny in well-paid positions. Given where and how the Blacks live, it is unlikely that Sirius leaves a substantial inheritance for Harry other than 12 Grimmauld Place and its contents.
Gringotts - is a banking operation; there is no evidence that they maintain copies of all legal documents at the ministry, provide legal or security services for wizards, or even pay interest on the mounds of coin in a wizard's vault since they can't invest it. Goblins are metalsmiths and miners without other significant advanced magic; they hire wizards for curse-breaking, not the other way around.
Fangirl Ginny – yes, when she is ten years old. By Book 5, her immobilizing crush has dissolved and she is the only friend of Harry’s with the nerve to speak frankly to him. Anyone who says otherwise probably has her confused with Romilda Vane or has been Confunded by reading too much fan fiction.
Ginny and Lily – do not look alike. Even if Harry knows his mum from anything besides small photos and Snape’s pensieve memories, he will not confuse her “thick, dark red hair” and “startlingly green almond-shaped eyes” with Ginny’s “bright brown eyes” and Weasley “flaming red” mane, and there are no hints of any other physical resemblance.
Prat Ron – is a typical teenager who is portrayed by JKR with a touch of reality, just as most of her characters are. They are all flawed just as we are all flawed. Harry and Hermione also have bouts of bad behavior, but some fans like to focus on Ron’s poor decisions, forgetting his better traits.
Ice Queen Daphne – a perfect example of how a fan notion takes root and blossoms into fanon reality, and a character almost invisible in canon becomes a fan favorite to ship with Harry. Who knew?
Emma and Dan – are actors, not Hermione’s parents, who have no first names given by JKR. No doubt a tongue-in-cheek Harmony-shipper invention.
Durmstrang – is nowhere near Krum’s native Bulgaria, which is not “far north” in relation to Hogwarts in Scotland, as Hermione describes it. JKR coyly tells us it’s in Scandinavia, but no one knows exactly where. Book 4 mentions at least one girl student in their small contingent, confirming that it is co-educational just as are Hogwarts and Beauxbatons.
The Underage Trace – is a charm around the individual and has nothing to do with wands. For example, the Ministry senses Aunt Marge getting blown up by Harry’s accidental magic.
Polygamy, Betrothals, Underage Promiscuity, Homosexuality – perennial fanfic favorites, foisting adult themes where they never existed and then trying to claim canon compliance – just who are we trying to fool, hmm? Dumbledore is the exception that proves the rule – his sexual preference is never explicitly stated on page. Furthermore, while we can imagine that discreet acts of physical intimacy occur among older Hogwarts students, it is just as likely that some sort of magic – similar perhaps to the trace – limits such things, given the lack of supervision in the castle and the conservative nature of wizarding society as a whole.
On the films etc:
There are some amazing original scenes in the HP films that augment JKR’s story quite well, and it’s brilliant to see everything come to life on screen. Even the various looks of the Hogwarts set from film to film can be attributed to the castle’s magical nature. Why not?
So many of the actors are perfectly cast for their roles: Hagrid, McGonagall, Filch, Trelawney, Luna, Neville, to name a few. Of the trio, I think Rupert Grint is the best matched for his role for the duration of the series; Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe also do a fine job, despite their hair stylists forgetting how they are supposed to look. Richard Harris portrays well the wise grandfatherly Dumbledore in the first two films and Michael Gambon subsequently plays him as powerful yet cold, yet neither seem to quite capture his special brand of whimsy. And Imelda Staunton may play Umbridge to sickening perfection, but – fortunately for the sensibilities of the audience – she doesn’t look a bit toad-like.
However, after seeing the ridiculous mockery that Warner Brothers makes of Harry and Voldemort’s final confrontation in DH Part 2 (among other things, they forget all about how the Elder Wand works), I conclude that what they do is very similar to what we do here with one difference – the films are licensed fan fiction. Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize that visual media have very different requirements to tell the same story in a 2.5 hour time frame, but I still have trouble reconciling some of their decisions, particularly after JKR relinquished creative control for the last four films. Oh, well, pass the popcorn so I can whinge about something else.
How about Pottermore? I admire the wonderful art and JKR’s new material, but the rest falls short of its potential. For discovering Chocolate Frog Cards I get an Outstanding, but I’m a Troll at spells and potions. Sorted into Slytherin (no, I’m not changing my screen name), I learn from our new prefect that Merlin is a member of our noble house. From what little I remember about British history and legend, this means one of the following (in ascending order of likelihood):
Many fans seem to focus on romantic relationships in the series, perhaps more than the story itself, so it’s understandable when they express their distaste that JKR shut the door on their One True Pairing (“I don’t like the last two books, and forget that epilogue”). However, I commend JKR for portraying the story’s teenage relationships with painfully realistic miscues and familiar awkwardness, rather than some idealistic fantasy romance.
For Harry, all the arguments over which potential mate is the most loyal, understanding, shares the most similar experience, etc bear little relevance to the fact that the heart wants what the heart wants, and one cannot logic love. As their creator, JKR is the one who determines what is in their hearts.
It’s not obvious unless one looks for it, but JKR is shipping Harry/Ginny from the very beginning when he first sees her on the platform. Along the way, Harry’s eye is ensnared by exotic beauties like Cho, but he always notices unique detail in Ginny. Yes, he slowly develops a deep love for his best friend Hermione, one that supersedes the need for romance. At the same time, beginning in Book 5, Harry feels more and more like the third wheel in the trio as Hermione spends increasing amounts time separately with Ron. Harry doesn't understand what his subconscious has been telling him about Ginny until he is overcome with jealousy seeing her together with Dean. I believe the clincher for Harry is that he wants laughter in his life – explaining his appreciation for Luna – and the pages of Harry and Ginny together are filled with many more smiles than snogs.
The films give a very different impression. Emma Watson is never hampered with Hermione’s trademark bushy hair or buck teeth, and she turns know-it-all bossiness into cute precociousness. For the first few books, Harry and Ron never think of her as a girl, yet the audience sees her sans canon robes in tight-fitting jumpers that leave no doubt of her developing womanhood. Her transition to Yule Ball beauty is nothing compared to the miracle described in Book 4. Her screen persona develops a chemistry with Harry’s through the sheer amount of screen time dedicated to them. Most of Ginny’s best scenes are eliminated, particularly while making the HBP film darker in tone; Bonnie Wright doesn't get to smile much at all. Is it any wonder that Harry/Hermione (Harmony) fans are so dedicated?
As for Ron and Hermione, JKR drops “anvil-size hints” (her words) of their mutual attraction by Book 4, and I know many couples just like them – deeply in love yet arguing constantly. No, it’s not pleasant to witness, but that’s the reality of their relationship regardless of how anyone else feels about it. Once again, kudos to JKR for the courage to show this slice of real life. Despite the claims of Harmony shippers, JKR's interview with Emma Watson sheds little new light on this topic, for she limits her discussion to issues in Hermione's relationships, not what might be best for Harry. In my opinion, a Harry/Hermione marriage would probably not be as demonstrative as Ron/Hermione, but there would be no shortage of conflict, just as we see in the books.
For those who don’t like it, there is always fan fiction, where everyone’s favorite ships can sail with impunity, sending the pretenders to the bottom of the sea, and Destiny (as they envision it) can be finally set to rights. I enjoy reading the various situations Harry gets into, but the other characters – not so much. For instance, given the choice of being forced to read a Draco romance fic or suffer the Cruciatus curse, I would say that at least the curse would be over sooner. But that's just me.
Dumbledore-bashing is a popular sport in fan fiction, and there is no doubt that he has much to answer for as one of JKR’s most complex characters, not unlike his foil Severus Snape. As the series progresses, evil git Snape transforms into troubled hero; conversely, Dumbledore’s status as champion of the light is questioned more and more. I think one’s view of the headmaster depends on how one receives his confession to Harry after the Department of Mysteries fiasco in Book 5 – a critical scene oddly missing in the film version – and the follow-up at virtual King’s Cross in Book 7. He admits that he makes many mistakes that cost Harry dearly, but we eventually learn that he does not set the boy up to fail.
Dumbledore is extremely brilliant and has the capability to ascertain many an outcome through mental calculations so complex that to most of us it seems like Divination. He knows that however much magical training Harry is given, the young wizard can never overcome Voldemort at his own game, or he would do it himself. Voldemort’s belief that “there is no good or evil, only power and those too weak to seek it” is shot down over and again throughout the series with Harry surviving through various other virtuous means – love, loyalty, selflessness, forgiveness, determination, providence, etc – that illustrate the futility of foolish greed and arrogance. Of course, the final duel scene in the DH2 film would have us believe that – contrary to JKR’s major themes – teenage school-dropout Harry could actually battle spell for spell with one of the most powerful wizards of recent memory when he could not do so with Snape less than a year prior.
No, Dumbledore realizes the "power the Dark Lord knows not" is Harry's ability to love others so much that he could give up his his own life for them, something inconceivable to Voldemort's twisted mind. Dumbledore also knows from the moment Harry tells him of the graveyard ritual in GoF – that look of triumph is not imagined – that Harry will survive the encounter eventually transpiring in the Forbidden Forest in DH, but Harry cannot know of it beforehand. Magic is all about intent, and Harry has to intend to die to rid himself of the Horcrux inside.
On fan fiction:
For some reason, other fandoms have little interest for me, despite how much I enjoyed the original work. My favorite stories will always be Harry-centric, as long as his character stays true – not too arrogant or truly evil.
I have started a community for completed Harry stories that celebrate JKR's universe in humorous and occasionally twisted ways, because I think Harry would appreciate the laughter, although some dark parody has made its way in there as well. Let me know if you have any suggestions for it – www.fanfiction.net/community/Harry-s-Just-a-Wild-and-Crazy-Guy/90242/ - and I have a long list of potential additions to the community waiting for their authors to wrap them up (hint, hint).
I humbly wish to add my own token of creativity to that body of work known as Harry Potter fanfiction, and I hope you enjoy. It goes without saying that I claim no ownership of anything in the Harry Potter universe, no money is being made and I am very appreciative of JK Rowling for allowing us to have a little fun playing in her sandbox. I try to use the Queen's English when appropriate, however my computer insists on using American English for spell-checking. I hope this idiosyncracy doesn't create too much of a bother, and please let me know if my usage is off somewhere.
As of this writing, I have only published stories here on fanfiction.net and on Sink Into Your Eyes (siye.co.uk), a well-put-together H/G site. My screen name there is gryffins_door with the underscore. I briefly attempted posting on one of the bigger dedicated HP fanfiction sites, but the Hermiones that run it are more concerned about their precious rules than the quality of the contributions, so I will not make that mistake again.
I wish that this site had the capability to respond to reviews in the context of the review itself, and while I am extremely thankful for each and every review - praising or critical - I may not always send a personal reply to general kudos and the like. I will always try to respond to questions, even if it's only to say wait and see. Regardless, I'd love to hear from you.
Along the Winding Road - This fic has a slightly more outgoing Harry discovering his heritage two years earlier than canon, certainly not an original idea but I hope I have given it a unique slant. I've had the Diagon Alley scene on my hard drive for a long time as a drabble originally planned for a very different AU fic, but decided it wasn't the way I wanted Harry to learn about magic. Rather than toss it completely, I decided to give it a separate life, writing a new beginning that allows it to fit into a universe that is much more familiar. Sorry it doesn't continue on.
Dr Xenophilius and the Mary Sue Challenge - Oddly enough, the real title is too long to fit in FFnet's title field, but that's okay, because everything about this fic is a little off. Writing decent parody is harder than it looks, but a hippogriff load of fun. I will let you decide if it turned out awfully funny... or just awful. The first chapter is a prologue that I added specifically for this site and was not part of the original challenge; don't let it dissuade you from reading the rest. If you want to see the challenge rules, click on the News Archive link at the bottom of SIYE's home page (siye dot co dot uk) and scroll down to 2009.05.31.
Elementum Consensio - Not a one-shot, yet still rather brief at 20k words, this was my first published HP fanfic (since updated) and remains my favorite. I had a wonderful idea to use for the SIYE Hogwarts Reconstruction Challenge that I just had to share, and I'm proud to say that I stayed as far from cliche' as possible, and I hope that you will agree that this is a special little story - a mix of a little adventure, humor, a little more fluff, some interesting original magical creations, and a hefty helping of that particular thing the old headmaster said was "a magic beyond all we do here!" Someone once said that architecture is frozen music, so it follows that music must be molten architecture :-)
The Curse of the Setafowt - The First Week Challenge provided an excuse to attempt my version of an odd literary device that is rarely used (with very good reason, as the suffering reader will discover). I came across it in one of the wickedly quirky stories in Wayside School is Falling Down, the sequel to Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, and Luna's key line is pretty much ripped off from him. (Sorry...) Particularly astute readers may note that the secret to the Curse is similar to that of a certain magical object Harry comes across at Hogwarts. If you feel the need to read the story more than once, don't fret - it's only the Curse at work, and the effect is only temporary :-)
Tortoise Trophies - the races lost by the hares (plot bunnies) - my collection of odd bits, drabbles, one shots too shy for their own billing, you name it. No common themes, multiple genres. I plan to add periodically, so stay tuned!
White Bird Must Fly - This brief one-shot was inspired by hearing the late 1960's song "White Bird" by It's a Beautiful Day (one of the San Francisco Summer of Love groups) for the first time in many years. I immediately thought of Hedwig, although the words more accurately describe Harry's situation at the time presented in the story. If you are not familiar with that wonderful piece of music, I encourage you to look it up and give a listen. Originally the entire lyrics of the song were woven into the storyline but had to be mostly omitted here, since FF-dot-net prohibits songfics. For that reason, the definitive version of this story will continue to reside at SIYE.
More to come...
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