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Present at the Creation (well, almost…)

Back in the early 1970s a diverse group of people, all with vague ties to Science Fiction fandom, all of whom happened to be fans of children's fantasy literature as well, formed an APA (Amateur Press Association). I was an early member of this group, joining with the 2nd mailing.

Participating in an APA is rather like carrying on a pen-pal conversation with a couple dozen of other people.

In 1997 or early ’98 a couple who were members of the group took a holiday to Britain and caught the buzz regarding a first novel by a new author which seemed to be a runaway success. Of course they purchased copies and told the rest of the members about it.

So, when the re-christened ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone’ hopped the pond, we were waiting for it.

Having been reading the books since ’98, and participating in the online community since ’99, it stands to reason that I've drawn a few conclusions.

This was originally one large collection — which eventually became all but unmanageable — and once Rowling had closed the official canon the essays comprising it were split into two groups.

Not everything in the original collection could be retooled to comply with the statements made in the final book of the series. Those essays which could not have been spun off into a mostly HBP-compliant collection off their own. This is ‘The Potterverse UNhallowed’ collection

The part of the collection accessed here has been adjusted to recognize the end of the series, as Rowling presented it, insofar as I was able to. My willingness to do so varied from subject to subject. There are also a few flights of fancy appended, examining alternate ways events might have gone.

It should also be noted that there is a fair degree of repetion across both these collections. I have no way of knowing just where any visitor may be startying off with the collection, so I finally decided it was better to perioically repeat information rather than to assume that he will have already read some other particular essay. I tried to give the rephrasing some degree of variety, at least.

In a collection of this size it stands to reason that there will be subgroups. The different subgroups, in the order listed, are:

Harry Potter and the Reader

On books in general and the series as it is read. Touches upon the phenomenon of fandom in itself, and its effect upon the readers.

Echoes of Other Voices

This pair of essays are LiveJournal postings by other people, reposted here by the permission of the original authors. Both examine the question of whether J.K. Rowling's methods pass muster in the context of J.K. Rowing as a Mystery author.

The “Foundation” Essays

In order to theorize, you must have a base to reason from. Rowling did not actually provide much of one. In retrospect, her whole interpretation of magic appears to consist of three parts whimsy to one part deus ex machina. With a bit of strawman baddie stuff thrown in to raise the stakes and make it exciting. Consequently, all theorists have been thrown upon their own resources and forced to construct their own theories of magic. And indeed, pretty much everything else. These essays are my exploration and attempt to explain the underlying paradigms of the working of Magic in the Potterverse, its history, its inheritance, and the interaction between the magical and the mundane members of human society over the course of (western) civilization. These four interpretations present and explain the assumptions which underpin all of the rest of the essays in these collections.

Oh, Wide Wide (Wizarding) World!

A collection of articles on general topics as they affect the Wizarding World. Mostly reflecting this world as it is portrayed during the period described in the series (i.e., “present day”).

With 20/20 Hindsight…

This subgroup examines actions which took place in the earlier books in view of later revelations, with an intent to determine just what was really going on.

It has always been evident that there was more to the story than was ever revealed to Harry Potter and his friends. Particularly during the earlier segments of the story arc.

…and a Cast of Dozens

The people of the Potterverse, and their interactions with one another.

There are a couple of more random items in here as well. There was no better place to put them, and I decided not to build yet another category for miscellany.

I should also note that one of these pages is oversized. It includes graphics elements which could not be resized and kept readable.

Scorecard

Examination of the completed series, en toto. Includes a few (now irrelevant) predictions for comparison.

Missed Opportunities

A few examples of plot developments which I sincerely believe that with some modification, usually in matters of timing or stated motivation, Rowling could have handled an issue — one which she raised and delivered to us anyway — rather better than she ultimately did.

The Briar Patch

Wherein breeds plot bunnies.

Or, at any rate, anything posted here reads rather more like fanfic than it does an actual theory.