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 married 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 last 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.
Something that needs to be said is that a lot of these pieces are very long. This is because for a period of about five years the whole collection was gone through and updated with further developments (if any) on a schecdule of every six months. I haven’t done that in a while. However, for the period that I was doing it, I didn’t necessarily delete an older theory just because I’d worked out a new one. So several of these articles are, basicly, a historical overview of theories which developed over a span of several years.
It should also be noted that there is a great deal of repetion across both these collections. I have no way of knowing just where any visitor may be starting off with the collection, so I finally decided it was better to perioically repeat information rather than to assume that the reader 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. Which was a matter of some discussion over the first half of the series.
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 essays present and explain the assumptions which underpin all of the rest of the articles 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 of essays 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 this group as well. There was no better place to put them, and I decided not to build yet another category just for miscellany.
I should also note that one of these pages contains oversized graphics. They could not be downsized and kept readable.
Examination of the completed series, en toto. Includes a few (now irrelevant) earlier predictions for comparison.
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 in this section reads rather more like fanfic than it does an actual theory.