J.K. ROWLING

This is an unashamed homage so if you don’t like her you won’t find anything bad here. There is a curious reluctance in some circles to admit to liking Harry Potter- it seems to be uncool. And of course her success can be intimidating and then the green eyed monster gets involved. That whole scene irritates me no end and I ignore it as best I can.

I’m an unrepentant fan. I queued for everything from Goblet of Fire onwards and have re-read all the books multiple times. Did I mention that I’m nearly 60 years old .. and no, dementia does not run in the family! The amount of pleasure I’ve had from those books is worth far more than the purchase price.

As a writer I’ve had the added thrill of never being able to guess where the story was going. Yes, the Snape connection and Harry-as-horcrux thing was visible from Book 5 but it didn’t spoil the ride only spiced the soup.

And the climax to the series was spectacular. She delivered: no ifs or buts.

Rowling has the knack of keeping your interest throughout. There are no flat spots. Even the much queried ‘camping’ interlude in Deathly Hallows never lost me. Book 7 was very different because it needed to be.

This is all the more impressive when you consider that she writes in third person limited and therefore denies herself the option of omniscient diversions.

The large character list allows for a broad spectrum of opportunities to hold the interest within the lens of Harry’s perceptions but this is still a difficult job to keep the balance and get the narrative flow properly primed.

Despite withdrawal symptoms for nearly a year after reading Deathly Hallows, I will never forget the deep sense of satisfaction and appreciation that I felt upon completing the series.

Which brings me to fan fiction. My first reaction when I encountered this phenomenon was mild contempt and I retain a certain reluctance to view it seriously. Several authors including Rowling have pointed to the inherent compliment in fan fiction and having read a smattering of it on Mugglenet and The Leaky Cauldron websites I am forced to admit that

a)     the compliment is implicit in the care taken and

b)    some of this stuff is incredibly good.

It would be very easy to lose yourself in it. Not that I’m likely to do that any time soon; I have too much of my own work to get on with.

However …

I have indulged myself; twice.

First time was a competition- an 800 word postcard snippet that was great fun (I wrote a piece about Neville’s father, Frank Longbottom. I would like to think that I made him cool.)

The second instance was something I resisted for a long time but that above mentioned withdrawal weakened my resolve. After Deathly Hallows the inevitable question was; will there be more books. Eventually I succumbed to this and attempted to come up with an answer. It involved a very intriguing and satisfying several months of assessing why and how the Harry Potter novels work and answering the basic question: how do you come up with a villain to top Voldemort?

The outline that resulted involved a trilogy of books and hinged on the premise that the Chamber of Secrets was not a hidden refuge but a very special prison.

I haven’t pursued the project beyond that point but one day … when I retire (LOL)

So, fan fiction can be great fun and a big compliment and more power to you if you enjoy reading or writing it.

iDM

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