The last Potter

By SHARON STEEL  |  July 24, 2007

“In some ways,” says Paul, “we want to tie things off and consider it a done deal. We’ve always viewed this as a project that had a finite life and end point.” Of course, Harry and the Potters have been at it the longest, and thus have had more time to make peace with the idea.

Not everyone has accepted the end with such ease. Ross sounds almost tearful, in fact, when he professes his faith that the Potter phenomenon will outlast Deathly Hallows. He and his brother have both been in bands where, “if you go four hours away from your hometown, nobody comes to see you.” When the wiz kid is involved, they have a built-in fan base wherever they go.

“Our experience with wizard rock has been the best musical experience of our lives,” says Ross. “We don’t really have any interest in stopping at all.”

07020_potters_main23
THE MANIPULATOR: Fan-fic author Lee Hillman, a/k/a Gwendolyn Grace, has the power to make Harry do whatever she wants.
Rewriting the canon
Okay, so you just sat down and read Deathly Hallows, and you’re underwhelmed. “I thought Harry and Voldemort were going to take it all off,” you say to yourself, not loud enough for anyone to hear you, “and explore each other’s nether regions on a beach in St. Martin, all to the soundtrack of Nelly’s ‘Hot in Herre.’ ”

Um, probably not going to happen in the work of J.K. Rowling, a woman who knows where her bread — and Harry’s — is buttered. But that’s not to say it won’t happen to Harry and Vol in someone’s fiction plane.

The fan-fiction universe is teeming with steamy, dreamy, and creamy Potter plots that are entirely inappropriate for the series’ original core audience of kids. (Slash fiction is the genre of fan-fiction that dreams up character hook ups.) And then again, there is Potter fan-fic that is entirely tame and gentle — it’s just not written by Rowling.

People write fan-fic (as it’s called) for all kinds of phenomena — there’s Dr. Who, X-Files, and Star Wars fan-fic, and fanfiction.net yields a wealth of other forums. But Harry Potter is the most searched-for fan-fic topic, and Heidi Tandy, the executive producer of FictionAlley, estimates that there are between 10 and 11,000 Potter stories posted on the site, making it one of the world’s largest homes of Potter fan-fic.

Lee Hillman — a founding administrator and moderator of the Fiction Alley Potter site — doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge that she’s obsessed with Harry Potter. When her obsession first began, she turned to the Internet for more information, namely, sources where she could read and write Harry Potter fan-fiction in between the Rowling-issued books. Hillman had dabbled in fan-fic before, though it wasn’t until she started writing about the little wizard that she fell head-first into the fan-fic rabbit hole.

“[Rowling] puts a lot of ingenuity into the world,” says Hillman, who posts her fics under the handle Gwendolyn Grace. “Because it’s so accessible, it’s in between the cracks and we can’t see it. It kind of teases us, tantalizes us, and tempts us in and says ‘Come on in and play!’ And that’s very fun.”

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