Opinion: Ilvermorny is Fanfiction

Opinion: Ilvermorny is Fanfiction

Opinion: Ilvermorny is Fanfiction

0 comments 📅01 July 2016, 16:35

OK Harry Potter fans, before you burn me at the stake, let me ask you a question: Why was Ilvermorny, American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, never mentioned at all in the books?

Because the original story of Harry Potter did not need it. J.K. Rowling simply wanted to tell a story and it took place in her countIlvermornyry. It was locally contained and did not need a fantasy world of witches and wizards to support the plot. It doesn’t seem like it when you read the story, but when you sit back and think about it there isn’t really much to the wizarding world that is contrived in the books. There are implications of a bigger world, like when visiting schools Durmstrang and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic join in for the Triwizard Tournament, but aside from that nothing else was important so much that it affected Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s journey. And that is exactly how it was intended.
Then suddenly Warner Brothers approaches Rowling with proposals for an “expanded creative partnership” and also with lots of money. They wanted the success of the Harry Potter films duplicated and Rowling decided to give it a shot (really though, who can blame her?). That is where development for the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them began.

In an effort to flesh out the upcoming series of prequels, and maybe to hype American audiences, she wrote about Ilvermorny and came up with a Sorting quiz for it. And then fans lost their collective minds over it.
Not to say that all of this isn’t fun. That is why fans love writing fan-fiction, because it’s fun to imagine the what-ifs and play them out. I’m aware of a particularly good fan-fiction that had James Potter as the main character and J.K. Rowling gave it her stamp of approval.
But in the end, that is all it is: fan-fiction.
OK, the “fan” part for Rowling’s own work doesn’t make sense, but her newest creation matches the definition. And it’s the reason why I’m fearing that the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will turn out like the Star Wars prequels (kinda harsh, but if it’s not half as bad then I’ll be thoroughly surprised and entertained).
This does not mean she is a bad author. She is fantastic and I loved reading the books growing up. But her approach to writing Harry Potter has gone from telling a story to world building, instead of developing a world first and then telling a story within it. The story of Harry Potter does not need Ilvermorny, but Ilvermorny definitely needs Harry Potter.
And that is why it’s only a fun piece of fan-fiction to me.

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