Life after ‘Harry Potter’

During their seventh year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, mortal enemies Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy are forced to share a common room. Although cold towards one another at first, the two rivals soon find that they have more in common than originally supposed — namely, a mutual love for the other’s supple young body. A torrid romance ensues, full of tears, furtive glances and hot wizard lovemaking. There is only one problem: Hermione has brain cancer.

These scenes may be unfamiliar to the 11 million people who bought “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” on Day One of it’s release. That’s because they didnt read “A Secret Thought,” the novel-length work of Harry Potter fan fiction which contains a chapter called “Shagging Draco Malfoy,” a heart-warming ending and this sentence: “Hermione pried her eyes away from Malfoy’s bare (and oh so adorable and sexy and hot) chest and glued her eyes to his own.”

“A Secret Thought” and the 45,000 pieces like it (44,000 when I started writing this article) on HarryPotterFanFiction.com serve as a sort of Harry Potter nicotine patch to wean the dependent off their Harry Potter addiction. The site receives over 40 million hits per month, and “A Secret Thought” is one of its most popular works.

“People like fan fiction because it allows them to stay connected to the Harry Potter story,” says Karin (online alias), a moderator for Muggle Fan Fiction, one of HarryPotterFanFiction.com’s rival sites. “It allows them to extend the story.”

Fan fiction web sites were inundated with alternate versions of Harry’s seventh year as the “Deathly Hallows” release date approached. Whatever is lost in authenticity and writing quality in these pieces is definitely made up in sheer camp. There are types of stories for all tastes, and the different genres of HPFF include drama, humor, crossover (of the undoubtedly cannabis-influenced, “Dude, what if Harry were reincarnated as Frodo?” variety), romance, mystery and “angst” (a great but rather ambiguous genre; one story is about the marriage tribulations of Seamus Finnigan that result from his wife’s inability to conceive a child). Stories are also organized by pairings, that is, by which characters hook up over the course of their narratives. Typical pairings include Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ron and James/Lily. The most popular pairing by far, however, is Draco/Hermione.

“There is no actual textual justification for a romance between Draco and Hermione,” said Karin, “but I think people are drawn to it because it’s sort of the story of the good girl saving the bad boy. It also feels a little bit like Romeo and Juliet.”

One of the most read Draco/Hermione stories on Muggle Fan Fiction is “The Sweetest Sin,” a tale that takes place in an alternate universe where Voldemort won the second wizarding war, and in which Hermione is forced to work as a slave for (guess who?) Draco Malfoy. A slave-and-master love affair results, full of titillating S&M undertones and a climactic death scene in which Malfoy dies in Hermione’s arms.

Fan fiction shows that our love affair with “Harry Potter” has gone on for so long that J.K. Rowling can’t end it for us, even if she wanted to. Most of the writers began their reading careers with Harry Potter and, as a result, they feel the characters belong to them as much as to anyone.

“I got a lot of hate mail for killing off Draco,” says Annie Yuan, author of “The Sweetest Sin.” “People were really mad that they didn’t end up together.”

True, a majority of fan fiction writers appear to be females under the age of 25, as indicated by obsessive descriptions of Malfoy’s bare chest and the hazy nature of the sex scenes. Yuan began writing Harry Potter fan fiction when she was 14 years old, finishing “The Sweetest Sin” before turning 18.

But whether you want to see Ron and Hermione together, or Draco and Hermione together, or Harry and Fred and George together (not joking), you’re only going to find it in fan fiction, as J.K. Rowling has finished writing books in the Harry Potter universe. Though fan fiction’s literary quality may be low and the turnover rate high, those with a taste for the campy might find a temporary relief from their Harry Potter withdrawal by Googling “Harry Potter and The Fringe Of Hope.”

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