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Part III: Beyond the Harry Potter Series in:

Marion Gymnich, Hanne Birk, Denise Burkhard (Ed.)

"Harry - yer a wizard", page 181 - 250

Exploring J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Universe

1. Edition 2017, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4035-5, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-6751-2, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828867512-181

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Anglistik, vol. 6

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Part III: Beyond the Harry Potter Series Anne Mahler Haunted by Voldemort or Suffering from PTSD: Analysing Harry Potter’s Psychological Struggles in Adulthood in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ‘I thought I’d lost him – Voldemort – I thought I’d lost him – and then my scar started hurting again and I had dreams of him and I could even speak Parseltongue again and I started to feel like I’d not changed at all – that he’d never let me go – […] [t]he part of me that was Voldemort died a long time ago, but it wasn’t enough to be physically rid of him – I had to be mentally rid of him’ (Child 305). In the final scene of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016), a grown-up Harry Potter reflects on his struggle to overcome his past and the clutches of his antagonist Lord Voldemort. Especially interesting is that he does not only comment on the consequences of carrying a piece of Voldemort’s soul within him for most of his life, but also on working through the psychological implications that followed an adolescence characterised by numerous horrifying battles against the Dark Lord. Looking back, the original series found its unnerving climax in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), when Harry realises that the uncanny connection between him and Voldemort stems from a piece of Voldemort’s soul living within him. In a heroic act during the Battle of Hogwarts, he sacrifices himself, just to be reborn without the intrusive hauntings of his opponent. After one last duel, Harry, with the help of his companions, finally triumphs over the Dark Lord. The novel ends with J.K. Rowling reassuring the reader that Harry’s scar had not hurt since the final defeat of Voldemort and that “all was well” (Hallows 607). After years of fighting against Voldemort and his followers, the very last chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows provides a peaceful and happy ending, closing the series as well as this terrifying and defining part of Harry’s life. In 2016, however, the Harry Potter series made a highly successful comeback in the form of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. To satisfy the demands of thousands of Harry Potter fans worldwide, the stage play in London’s West End was soon followed by the publication of the rehearsal script which saw a revival of ‘Pottermania’ in the form of midnight openings of book shops around the world, and the well-known long queues in front of them. Even though scholars and fans alike are still in dispute as to whether the play has a place in the canon (cf. Coats 146), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child nevertheless gives an insight into what life for the, now middle-aged, protagonists and their children is like. The play is set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and focuses on Harry’s son Albus’ identity crisis as the misfit offspring of the Potter family who is lured in by Voldemort’s daughter Delphi. Picking up with the same, almost serene, scene at platform 9¾ that closes the original series, the reader, as the plot unfolds, is confronted with Harry’s mental troubles. Harry is, for instance, highly irritable and suffers from a number of nightmares in whose aftermaths his scar starts to hurt again. The protagonists blame these symptoms on Voldemort’s supposed return, contradicting the conclusive ending of the series which the play aims to continue. According to the timeline of the play, however, Voldemort neither returns to the present, nor does Harry carry another horcrux. And even when the protagonists meet Voldemort again in the final scenes of the play, it is them who have travelled in time to prevent Delphi from changing the past, not Voldemort who returns to regain power. ANNE MAHLER 184 Therefore, the question arises whether Harry’s struggles actually stem from the supposed reappearance of dark forces of some sort, or whether they have a different origin. In support of the original ending, this paper provides a reading of The Cursed Child as a trauma narrative with a special focus on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is argued that Harry is not possessed by Lord Voldemort once again, but rather suffers from PTSD caused by abuse during childhood and near-death experiences in his teenage years. To support this claim, the clinical definition of PTSD in combination with close readings of the series and the play is used. A closer look is taken at both causes and symptoms of the condition and how they surface in Harry’s character. Looking beyond the mere textual evidence for trauma on the content level, stylistic devices usually employed to represent trauma will also be critically discussed and applied to the text. Literary criticism on the Harry Potter series is numerous and manifold; in this context, psychological readings are no exception. Anthologies such as Neil Mulholland’s The Psychology of Harry Potter: An Unauthorized Examination of the Boy who Lived (2006) aim at both showing how J.K. Rowling’s series is used by psychotherapists as a means of treating patients as well as assessing several characters in the Harry Potter universe. In her essay “Harry on the Couch: A Psychologist’s Reading of Harry Potter” (2007), Joanne Macgregor briefly mentions that Harry might suffer from PTSD. However, her analysis lacks both the scientific foundation of PTSD research and thorough examination of the primary texts to be able to come to a conclusive conclusion with regards to Harry’s mental state. Peter Subkowski draws a parallel between the Freudian theory of development and trauma as a means for the reader to feel empathy with the characters in the Harry Potter universe. Yet, most of these studies were published before Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and even before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. They are therefore not able to assess the state of Harry’s psyche in adulthood in relation to his adolescence, and its impact on the protagonist. It is the aim of this paper to advance psychological readings of Harry Potter by including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in those readings, looking beyond the protagonist’s childhood and adolescent experiences and at his mental struggles in adulthood. Since the clinical DSM-definition of PTSD is usually used to analyse real-life patients, this paper adopts Bernard Paris’s understanding of analysing fictional characters with the means of clinical psychology. Paris sees fictional characters not just as “functions in a text or encoded messages from the author but […] imagined human beings whose thoughts, feelings, and actions ma[k]e sense in motivational terms” (5). According to Paris, it is possible to apply diagnosing strategies to literary characters, both to explain their motivations and mental conditions. Critics counter-arguing this theory often state that to analyse a fictional character, a comprehensive view into their childhood is necessary – and usually not provided (cf. ibid. 7). With the character of Harry Potter, however, the main, if not the whole, corpus of primary texts is concerned with experiences from his childhood and adolescence – another argument for an analysis based on the PTSD definition from diagnostic manuals. In the following, an overview of post-traumatic stress disorder, its causes and symptoms will be given and then applied to Harry’s character. It is the aim of this article to illustrate that the true nature of Harry’s distress can be found in an untreated psychological condition and not in the return of Him- Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Even though post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a relatively new syndrome, it has had a great impact on cultural and literary trauma theory. Its inclusion in the DSM-III as a medical condition in 1980 is largely the result of lobbying campaigns led by Vietnam War veterans in the United States who struggled with physical and psychological symptoms following their deployment in the war zones (cf. Gibbs 3). As will be discussed later, the definition of causes and symptoms of PTSD has since then undergone (and is still undergoing) significant en- HAUNTED BY VOLDEMORT OR SUFFERING FROM PTSD 185 hancements to broaden the group of potential victims. The evolution of the concept of PTSD in the last decades and over the last two editions of the DSM saw, for example, the inclusion of not just ‘first degree’ immediate victims of traumatic events, but also ‘second degree’ indirect victims (cf. Luckhurst 1). However, the current definition and understanding of PTSD still reflects a relatively simple approach to trauma, its causes and effects. Its conceptualisation as a fixed concept, as seen in the work done by some trauma scholars, is highly problematic. Nevertheless, since its acknowledgement PTSD has significantly shaped what is now understood as “subjectivity and experience in the advanced industrial world” (ibid.). It is therefore a powerful tool to analyse contemporary literary representations that are consciously or unconsciously dealing with trauma. Cultural and literary trauma theorists were quick to discover the relevance of the new condition for literary representations of trauma, making PTSD the “principal trauma paradigm” (Gibbs 166). Apart from approaches introduced in the highly influential, yet now heavily criticised works of the ‘founder’ of cultural and literary trauma theory, Cathy Caruth, PTSD is the main means for conventional trauma readings. Literary trauma theory, however, is inextricably linked to the latest findings in psychology and needs to be reviewed and questioned accordingly. With this development in mind, scholars such as Richard McNally have observed an uncritical use of PTSD in cultural and literary trauma theory which leads to an uncontested acceptance of its questionable origins in the politically motivated campaigns of post-Vietnam United States (cf. 1). This uncritical use by some scholars who view PTSD as an analytic imperative should be kept in mind when thinking about the condition. This paper therefore places itself in line with arguments of second-generation literary trauma theorists, acknowledging recent findings in PTSD research, as well as criticism of the Caruthian trauma paradigm. Furthermore, the most recent definition of PTSD is not exclusively used to illustrate a certain trauma aesthetic, but, first and foremost, chosen as a method to illustrate the causes and symptoms of Harry’s mental state. The conventional stylistic devices derived from PTSD by literary trauma scholars will also come into effect, but the main focus remains on textual evidence to be able to analyse the character of Harry as a victim of trauma. In the current diagnostic manual editions ICD-10 and its US-American equivalent DSM-V, PTSD is defined by its cause as well as a specific set of symptoms. The cause of the syndrome is the exposure of the victim to actual or threatened death, serious injury [...] in one (or more) of the following ways: 1. Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s). 2. Witnessing in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others. 3. Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend [...] (American Psychiatric Association 271). According to this definition, PTSD cannot just be caused by being a direct victim of a traumatic event, but also on a more indirect level. As the second and third part of the definition emphasise, even if the physical integrity of the PTSD victim is not threatened, patients can still suffer from the syndrome. In this case, what is regarded as traumatic is the endangerment of an individual with high emotional significance to the patient and not the threat to the patients themselves. According to the DSM-V, this means that both experiences cause the same reactions within the sufferer, granting interpersonal relationships a remarkably high significance for the individual. The non-American diagnostic manual ICD-10 also points out the very specific nature of the trauma trigger, placing it “outside the range of human experience” (World Health Organization n.p.). Therefore, whereas the question of how PTSD is triggered offers multidimensional possibilities, the list of events that have the potential to cause PTSD still is very restricted. ANNE MAHLER 186 Since the 1990s, this shortcoming has been especially noted by feminist psychiatrists. They expanded the clinical definition by adding the notion of insidious trauma. Insidious trauma does not come in form of a sudden event, but evolves slowly, over time. The best practical examples of this kind of trauma are abusive relationships, parental abuse during childhood and bullying, for instance in school. It is “usually associated with the social status of an individual being devalued because a characteristic intrinsic to their identity is different from what is valued by those in power” (Root 240). Insidious trauma infiltrates its victim slowly but surely. “‘Everyday’ chronic conditions” are accepted as “potential causes of trauma”, instead of surprising events that are outside the usual range of experience (Gibbs 16). In that respect, it differs from the clinical definition, since the trigger for PTSD is not exclusively found in one-time traumatic events. Nevertheless, the consequences of insidious trauma are just as devastating for the victim as those of the “extreme traumatic stressors” of the classic definition (World Health Organization n.p.). Taking a closer look at Harry Potter’s childhood and teenage years, both forms of trauma triggers can be found in the original series. Harry being in fatal danger is a concept which constantly lurks in the plot of every new instalment, whether it is during Harry’s many encounters with Voldemort’s horcruxes in the first four novels, or when he learns about the prophecy at the end of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003). The prophecy states that “‘either must die at the end of the other for neither can live while the other survives’” (Phoenix 924), making Harry either a murderer or predicting his imminent death. In the middle of the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry then finally learns about his fate as involuntary horcrux and this time the lurking threat materialises in form of a memory seen in Dumbledore’s pensieve (cf. Hallows 752): Finally the truth. [...] Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death’s welcoming arms. [...] Terror washed over him as he lay on the floor with that funeral drum [his heart] pounding inside him. Would it hurt to die? All those times he had thought it was about to happen and escaped, he had never really thought of the thing itself: his will to live had always been so much stronger than his fear of death. Yet it did not occur to him now to try to escape, to outrun Voldemort. It was over, he knew it, and all that was left was the thing itself: dying (ibid. 757-58). Despite the fact that Harry survives when the horcrux is extracted from his body, being so close to dying is undoubtedly traumatising and emotionally scaring. But it is not only Harry’s own life that is in constant danger. In the course of the series, Harry is faced with the traumatic deaths of acquaintances, very close friends and companions. Although Harry was too young to consciously remember his parents’ death, he revisits this scene, stored in his unconscious repeatedly. Usually, the appearance of dementors triggers those memories to surface. Every time Harry encounters dementors, he hears his mother’s voice begging Voldemort to kill her instead of her son (cf. Prisoner 259). The first death he consciously witnesses is the murder of Cedric Diggory at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000) when “[f]or a second that contained eternity, [he] stared into Cedric’s face, at his open grey eyes, blank and expressionless as the windows of a deserted house” (691). Returning from the graveyard he is “clutching – the smooth, cold handle of the Triwizard Cup, and Cedric’s body [...] as though he would slide away into the blackness gathering at the edges of his brain if he let go of either of them” (ibid. 726). Arguably the two most traumatising deaths are those of his father figures, Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore. As Dumbledore says about Sirius’ death: “‘[y]ou have now lost your mother, your father, and the closest thing to a parent you have ever known’” (Phoenix 905-06). Although Harry admits to himself at Dumbledore’s funeral that “he had not, as he had with Sirius, looked desperately for some kind of loophole, some way that Dumbledore would come back” (Prince 752), he is HAUNTED BY VOLDEMORT OR SUFFERING FROM PTSD 187 fully aware that “the last and greatest of his protectors had died and he was more alone than he had ever been before” (ibid. 759-60). Apart from these life-changing deaths of Harry’s close associates, the passing of characters such as Fred Weasley, Lupin and Tonks, who die during the Battle of Hogwarts, as well as the death of the house-elf Dobby also haunt Harry’s character. The traumatising effect of witnessing the death or learning about the death of someone emotionally close manifests itself in the form of ‘survivor’s guilt’ which Harry feels even decades after the battle. When his son Albus goes missing in the course of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the pattern of blaming himself for the deaths of others becomes apparent again: “‘I shouldn’t have survived – it was my destiny to die – [...] and yet I lived. [...] All these people – all these people – my parents, Fred, the Fallen Fifty – and it’s me that gets to live? How is that? All this damage – and it’s my fault’” (Child 269). Harry compensates the senselessness of the deaths of his friends and family by accusing himself of not dying in their place. As Erica Goode argues in an article on survivor’s guilt in the New York Times, the idea of being able to prevent traumatic events “may help ward off the even more frightening notion that [they] were completely random” (n.p.). Guilt, as a response to the traumatic deaths, therefore serves as a substitute emotion which keeps Harry “from facing other key issues or intense emotions, and, in that sense, may serve as an unrecognized method of avoidance” (Nader n.p.). Therefore, Harry’s unresolved survivor’s guilt is another sign of post-traumatic stress, as well as of his missing confrontation with these punctual traumas. In addition to extreme trauma triggers, abuse and bullying likewise play an important role in Harry’s early childhood. When the reader encounters Harry in the first novel, he is an outsider in his own family. Having lost his parents, he “lived with the Dursleys almost ten years, ten miserable years [...] ever since he’d been a baby and his parents had died in that car crash” (Stone 37). In the Dursley family, there is no tradition of remembering Petunia’s sister and brother-in-law, and it is only at the end of Harry’s first year in Hogwarts that he receives a photo album with pictures of his parents (cf. ibid. 326). Instead, adding to Harry’s isolation, it is emphasised over and over again that they were strange outsiders. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Vernon’s sister Marge goes to extremes by stating that Lily “‘was a bad egg. [...] Then she ran off with a wastrel [...,] [a] no-account, good-for-nothing, lazy scrounger’” (36). Moreover, Vernon and Petunia “often spoke about Harry [...] as though he wasn’t there – or rather, as though he was something very nasty that couldn’t understand them, like a slug” (Stone 30). He is treated like a servant, forced to take care of the house and the garden, “[w]hile Dudley lolled around watching and eating ice-creams” (Chamber 16), not to mention him living in a cupboard until the first Hogwarts letters arrive (cf. Stone 45). His cousin Dudley continuously either threatens to use physical violence against him or actually does so. Harry’s glasses are “held together with a lot of Sellotape because of all the times Dudley had punched him in the nose” (ibid. 27). The abuse Harry suffers at home continues in his school environment until he is accepted into Hogwarts: “[a]t school, Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley’s gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy old clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley’s gang” (ibid. 38). It is this kind of continuous trauma which surfaces again in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Having established the potential causes for post-traumatic stress disorder in Harry’s character, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will in the following be analysed to see if the syndrome actually manifests itself. Hereby, two perspectives are applied: first, the textual analysis of PTSD symptoms Harry shows, and, second, how these symptoms are formally represented in the play. ANNE MAHLER 188 Returning to the ICD-10 and DSM-V definition of PTSD, a victim’s reaction to the exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor is usually delayed (cf. World Health Organization n.p.). It includes [r]ecurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s) [...], [r]ecurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s) [...], [i]ntense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s) [...], [p]ersistent negative emotional state [...], [i]rritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) (American Psychiatric Association 271-72). According to these definitions, three main categories of symptoms can be identified: first, a period of latency between the traumatic event(s) and the surfacing of PTSD symptoms; second, a change in behaviour either towards high emotional irritability, and thirdly the continuous involuntary revisiting of the traumatic event itself. The latency period describes the time between the traumatic event and the first symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Whereas classic readings of trauma narratives, especially those by Cathy Caruth, stress the importance of this period of belatedness where the traumatic memory is not accessible to the victim, more recent research suggests that a period of amnesia is a conscious decision of the trauma sufferer (cf. Gibbs 11). Drawing on neuroscientific research, second-generation cultural trauma scholars in particular underline that a sufferer’s reaction to a traumatic event can be considerably more complex than suggested by the restricted model Caruth insists on (e.g. Kaplan 38). Instead, traumatic memory is “remembered but consciously repressed” (Gibbs 12). This notion also frees trauma narratives from the imperative of a period of belatedness – dictating a clear time frame after which the traumatic memory is bound to surface again – and incorporates primary texts in the trauma canon which either include no or significantly longer latency periods. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is in line with this more open and complex approach to traumatic memories that includes the assumption of an accessible traumatic memory. Between the statement that “all was well” (Hallows 607) after the defeat of Voldemort and the appearance of Harry’s first symptoms, an exceptionally long period of nineteen years passes, suggesting that Harry chose not to think about the traumatic scenes of his childhood and adolescence rather than not being able to remember them (cf. Child 48). What triggers the reappearance of symptoms are arguably the recurring fights with his son, as well as a conversation with the aged Amos Diggory confronting Harry about Cedric’s death once again. Both factors can be regarded as extraordinary stressors and threats to Harry’s fragile mental health which is also under strain because of a very stressful working life as auror for the Ministry of Magic (cf. ibid. 29). From early on in the play, Harry already shows signs of “[i]rritable behaviour and angry outbursts” (American Psychiatric Association 272), especially when it comes to his son Albus. In a key conversation in Act 1, Scene 7, Harry is very quick to lose his temper and tell Albus “‘there are times I wish you weren’t my son’” (Child 41), also trying to control him until Professor McGonagall is “‘bewildered by [...] his vitriol’” and Ginny is “‘unsure of what he’s become’” (ibid. 123). Here, Harry’s clear over-reaction following a conversation with his teenage son is not only recognisable for the reader, but also for characters who have known and been close to Harry for decades, suggesting that his behaviour is far from regular. Another symptom of PTSD is the intrusive re-experiencing of traumatic events in the form of Harry’s nightmares. There are three nightmares in the course of the play, all of which have Harry waking up with an anxiety attack. Three common threads can be identified: his age, his aunt Petunia, and Voldemort’s voice at the end of each dream. In none of the dreams Harry is older than eleven years. In addition, he is always accompanied by Petunia, who is not short in insulting him and his parents with statements like: “‘we hoped we could improve you – build HAUNTED BY VOLDEMORT OR SUFFERING FROM PTSD 189 you – make you a decent human being. So I suppose it’s only ourselves we’ve got to blame that you’ve turned out... such a limp disappointment’” (ibid. 89). The fact that Petunia plays such a prominent role in all of the dreams reinforces the idea of how much insidious trauma in the form of long-term emotional abuse during childhood contributes to PTSD in later stages of Harry’s life. Of course, Voldemort, the cause of all punctual traumas that Harry experiences also appears, even if it is ‘only’ his voice threatening Harry at the end of each nightmare (cf. ibid. 45, 91, 207). Arguably, this intrusive re-experiencing climaxes when Harry impersonates Voldemort and then forces himself to witness his parents’ death, eventually sending him “to the floor, a pure mess of grief ” (ibid. 297, original emphasis). Trauma narratives in general follow a certain aesthetic that defines them; however, this aesthetic has been undergoing major changes since the earlier mentioned paradigmatic shift in analysing trauma fiction. On the one hand, first-generation trauma scholars identify a very close, and arguably highly restrictive, set of features that identify a trauma narrative. Cathy Caruth argues that because of the unrepresentability of trauma, narratives should display experimental forms of story-telling that formally reflect clinical trauma symptoms. These forms include heavily disrupted, non-linear forms of texts (cf. Caruth 5). Anne Whitehead supports these claims and stresses the importance of abandoning a “conventional linear sequence” (6) in order to represent trauma. Furthermore, Laurie Vickroy emphasises the clear distinction between the ‘high culture’ works that comprise the characteristics outlined by Caruth, and works of popular culture which she discounts as works of mere “terror, suspense, or prurience” (7). Partly owing to this heavy scholarly support, Caruth’s readings became highly influential for literary criticism, even though Caruth herself based her theories on a very narrow reading of Freud, leading her to assumptions that are highly problematic when looking at more recent trauma research.1 Second-generation trauma scholars, on the other hand, criticise this narrow approach to trauma aesthetics which leads to a vicious cycle of authors following the academically approved trauma narrative and vice versa (cf. Luckhurst 89). This critical assessment of both conventional ways of trauma reading, as well as the implication of more recent research opens up a number of narrative possibilities. These include for example the inclusion of a “wide diversity of high, middle and low cultural forms” (ibid. 83) in the trauma canon, or the potential of linear realist narratives to be recognised as trauma texts (cf. Gibbs 36). Imperative trauma concepts such as belatedness or literal nightmares and flashbacks become mitigated and are not compulsory to constitute a trauma narrative anymore. These additions to the otherwise more conventional features were explored by Robert Eaglestone in his study The Holocaust and the Postmodern (2004) and summarised by Roger Luckhurst (2008). They include “interruptions, temporal disorder, refusal of easy readerly identification, disarming play with narrative framing, disjunct movements in style, tense, focalization or discourse, and a resistance to closure that is demonstrated in compulsive telling and retelling” (Luckhurst 88), adding further dimensions and acknowledging that trauma and PTSD show uniquely in each victim. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child utilises the characteristics of the conventional trauma aesthetic Eaglestone and Luckhurst identify, while also displaying features second-generation literary trauma scholars recognise.2 Whereas the original Harry Potter series has a fairly linear timeline and narrative style with only few interruptions, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is characterised by the interruptions and temporal disorder Roger Luckhurst identifies. Here, magical means, such as the Time-Turner, serve as tools to jump between narrative 1 For a thorough critical discussion, see Gibbs (2014). 2 Even though plays do not yet play a significant part in the trauma fiction canon, scholars have commented on their potential to serve as trauma narratives. Matthew R. Martin, for instance, identifies an equivalent of the trauma aesthetic employed for prose in the tragedies of Christopher Marlowe (cf. 4). ANNE MAHLER 190 perspectives and various moments in time. Frequent changes of narrative agency and scenes in general make it especially difficult to analyse Harry’s behaviour, even though they do not have a direct connection to his symptoms. Nevertheless, it is easy to dismiss these symptoms in favour of the bigger picture of the storyline. Overlooking exactly this kind of behaviour, however, means running the risk of ignoring that Harry’s struggles serve as strong plot triggers, for example by causing Albus to rebel against his father multiple times in the course of the play. As a consequence, the viewer or reader is not able to identify with Harry’s character as easily as in the original series. The comprehensive insight into Harry’s feelings and thoughts is replaced by mere glimpses into the inner workings of his mind, for example during conversations with his wife Ginny or with Dumbledore’s portrait in the Ministry of Magic (cf. Child 46-48; 256-58). The element of compulsively revisiting Harry’s trauma appears in the form of the already mentioned nightmares, but is also pushed to extremes – again with magical means – when Harry literally revisits the killing of his parents, turning a subconscious traumatic memory into a conscious trauma (cf. ibid. 296-97). The relatively peaceful ending of the play cannot hide the “resistance to closure” (Luckhurst 88) which has only been achieved for Harry’s parental issues, but not for his post-traumatic stress. Arguably, laying out the eighth story as a play gives all of these techniques space to develop fully. Therefore, it can indeed be concluded that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a trauma narrative, in terms of both content and formal characteristics. Whereas first-generation trauma scholars are likely to contest this assumption, the development of literary trauma theory in past years allows a trauma reading of the play not only with regard to the story itself, but also to how it is presented. Using the clinical definition of post-traumatic stress disorder demands an analysis of the novels preceding the play and vice versa. Harry Potter’s behaviour in the play clearly shows signs of post-traumatic stress, and as the analysis of the original series shows, the origins of his symptoms are complex. In the original series, several punctual trauma triggers, such as the many deaths of Harry’s close associates or the constant endangerment of his own life, can be found. These events alone would suffice to cause severe posttraumatic stress beyond the feeling of survivor’s guilt. Harry, however, also undergoes a period of severe bullying in his domestic environment, i.e., with the Dursleys. The almost chronic behaviour of his relatives slowly infiltrated Harry’s psyche and is another aspect which continues to haunt him even decades later. The original novels therefore serve as a necessary starting point to explain Harry’s behaviour displayed in the play. Throughout Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, symptoms of post-traumatic stress appear in Harry’s character; yet they stay unrecognised and untreated. Instead, the other protagonists assume that the return of dark forces causes Harry’s distress. LaCapra notes that trauma has the potential to “confuse self and other, and collapse all distinctions” (21), an observation especially relevant when looking at the conclusion that Harry’s symptoms are caused by Voldemort still being an integral part of Harry’s psyche. Just like nineteen years earlier, the lines between Harry (representing the self) and his antagonist (representing the other) start to blur. The suspicious behaviour of Harry’s friends and family, and the suspected hauntings in the form of horcruxes do not only multiply Harry’s doubts and insecurities, but also function as metaphorical representations of Harry’s as well as the others’ suffering caused by the threatening and war-like environment they were faced with when growing up. When they are finally able to prevent Voldemort’s daughter Delphi from meddling with the past and stop her exploiting both Albus and Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius, Harry appears to be much calmer and more reflective than he has been up to this point. In the opening quote of this paper, he even claims to have already freed himself from the trauma Voldemort imposed on him. For most trauma survivors, however, working through trauma is an on-going process and even if HAUNTED BY VOLDEMORT OR SUFFERING FROM PTSD 191 Harry eventually finds peace, he will still have his scar on the forehead – a physical proof of his psychological trauma. Works Cited American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th edition, American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Caruth, Cathy. Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. Coats, Karen. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. 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Marthe-Siobhán Hecke Queerbaiting in the Harry Potter Series and in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ? I. Introduction When the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is the product of a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, was published in 2016, expectations were high as it was said to be the eighth book in the Harry Potter series. The play, which is divided into two parts, continues the story of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: nineteen years after Voldemort’s defeat, the next generation has entered the stage; the story focuses on Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. Soon after its publication, however, the play was accused of including a hidden love story between these two heroes, who needed to remain closeted to avoid displeasing most of the audience. This paper seeks to find clues for this assessment and the heteronormative Cloak of Invisibility. In order to do this, queerness and queerbaiting are discussed in the context of the Harry Potter series and in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. II. A short introduction to queerness ‘Queerness’ is a term used in many different contexts, which turns any attempt to define the term into a quite difficult endeavour. The meaning of the term has in fact changed significantly in the course of the last few centuries: initially, ‘queer’ “referred to something strange or illegitimate” (Barker/Scheele 9), but in the 19th century the meaning changed from “odd” to being used as hate speech, because it increasingly came to be used as a “derogatory term for same-sex sex, or for people with same-sex attractions” (ibid.). Today, in an act of appropriation, it is often used as “an umbrella term for anyone who is not heterosexual […] or cisgender (remaining in the gender that they were assigned at birth)” (ibid. 11), which is also the definition of queerness that will be applied in this paper. The following diagram gives a good overview of the different dimensions associated with gender, showing that one’s identity involves variables on the level of sexual and romantic attraction, the expression of oneself and one’s sex. In other words, a person can be born with a certain biological sex, can be sexually and/or romantically attracted (or not) to persons of different genders, may express their gender (or not) and has (or has no) gender identity. Ultimately, all of these categories constitute a scale, since there is not one fixed male or female gender, but there are many different expressions of gender in-between. Judith Butler’s writings have had a profound impact on both feminism and queer theory. In her book Gender Trouble (1990), she continued work done by earlier feminists, such as Simone de Beauvoir, arguing that sex and gender are not connected, although the norms of society tend to assume a necessary link between them. According to Butler, culture constructs and maintains a heterosexual matrix, suggesting that a supposedly fixed sex determines the individual’s gender, which then defines the desire of a person. Gender is, thus, not something humans are born with, but is rather the result of an individual’s performative acts, which, however, tend to be informed by patterns that have evolved and been consolidated in society: MARTHE-SIOBHÁN HECKE 194 C re di t: Sa m K ill er m an , h ttp :// its pr on ou nc ed m et ro se xu al .c om QUEERBAITING 195 The act that gender is, the act that embodied agents are inasmuch as they dramatically and actively embody and, indeed, wear certain cultural significations, is clearly not one’s act alone. Surely, there are nuanced and individual ways of doing one’s gender, but that one does it, and that one does it in accord with certain sanctions and proscriptions, is clearly not a fully individual matter (Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” 525). Performativity, thus, is anchored in a culture which has reiterated certain ideas of gender (e.g., the opposition of ‘strong males’ vs. ‘weak females’) for centuries (cf. Butler, Gender Trouble). Consequently, Butler conceptualises the ‘heterosexual matrix’ or ‘heteronormativity’ as follows: everything that does not adhere to cultural expectations regarding a predetermined performance in accordance with a binary opposition between ‘male’ and ‘female’ is likely to be seen as inferior and to be eliminated or at least punished. In a similar vein, Barker and Scheele point out that heteronormativity amounts to “homophobia, heterosexism, and straight privilege” (85). Deviations from behavioural norms often lead to sanctions, because the concept of heterosexuality seems to require the construction of a ‘distinct’ alternative: “In other words, for heterosexuality to remain intact as a distinct social form, it requires an intelligible conception of homosexuality and also requires the prohibition of that conception in rendering it culturally unintelligible” (Butler, Gender Trouble 98). Certain types of desires and of ‘doing gender’, e.g., homosexuality, are thus likely to be marginalised and/or forbidden, as they stand in opposition to gender norms; after all, “desire and its repression are an occasion for the consolidation of juridical structures; desire is manufactured and forbidden as a ritual symbolic gesture whereby the juridical model exercises and consolidates its own power” (ibid. 96). Repetition leads to a perpetual reproduction of these culturally constructed genders. Hence, gender performativity is not random but tends to follow rules. Queerness in gender performances draws upon the cultural conventions which were previously used to categorise a certain behaviour as ‘male’ or ‘female’. Butler emphasises that these culturally generated norms can be challenged and changed through repeated, altered usage: The public assertion of ‘queerness’ enacts performativity as citationality for the purposes of resignifying the abjection of homosexuality into defiance and legitimacy. I argue that this does not have to be a ‘reverse-discourse’ in which the defiant affirmation of queer dialectically reinstalls the version it seeks to overcome. Rather, this is the politicization of abjection in an effort to rewrite the history of the term, and to force it into a demanding resignification (Butler, Bodies that Matter 21). Butler’s concept of ‘citationality’, as picked up by Fathallah, establishes gender performativity as “constrained by signs and gestures repeated from the cultural archives of femininity/masculinity or straightness/queerness, any of which may inflect, parody, critique, or consolidate those constructions” (491). Subversive performativity might be able to change previously fixed gender stereotypes, just as a changed usage of language might be able to tackle hate speech (cf. Butler/Menke). III. What is queerbaiting, and why is it a problem? Altering norms via performativity is a challenge, given that, for instance, movies and other products of popular culture routinely function as a “ritualistic release for a heterosexual economy that must constantly police its own boundaries against the invasion of queerness” (Butler, Bodies that Matter 126). As homosexuality arguably undermines gender stereotypes, the (gendered) rules regulating the interaction between individuals are questioned by homosexuality, potentially giving rise to what Sedgwick and Butler refer to as ‘homosexual panic’. MARTHE-SIOBHÁN HECKE 196 The “displaced production and resolution of homosexual panic actually fortifies the heterosexual regime in its self-perpetuating task” (Butler, Bodies that Matter 126). Sedgwick follows Butler’s line of argumentation, claiming that the elimination of gender binaries is prone to cause a ‘homosexual panic’, especially for males. Looking at the genderbread person one can see that a division between identity (e.g. woman/male-ness), attraction (sexually or romantically), sex (female/male-ness) and expression (feminine, masculine) leads to diverse ways of expressing oneself. This might lead to insecurity and panic in others because the ‘boundaries’ defining who is attracted to whom no longer exist. I argue that the historically shifting, and precisely the arbitrary and self-contradictory, nature of the way homosexuality (along with its predecessor terms) has been defined in relation to the rest of the male homosocial spectrum has been an exceedingly potent and embattled locus of power over the entire range of male bonds, and perhaps especially over those that define themselves, not as homosexual, but as against the homosexual. Because the paths of male entitlement, especially in the nineteenth century, required certain intense male bonds that were not readily distinguishable from the most reprobated bonds, an endemic and ineradicable state of what I am calling male homosexual panic became the normal condition of male heterosexual entitlement (Sedgwick 190). To avoid ‘homosexual panic’ and refrain from displeasing a conservative audience, queerbaiting has recently become an increasingly widespread phenomenon in popular culture. Masad defines queerbaiting as follows: Queerbaiting is a term that exists mostly in fan communities, and refers to the writers or creators of a world (whether of a movie franchise, a book series, or a TV show) using injections of homoeroticism and romance to draw an audience seeking LGBTQ representation, while not alienating a wider audience who may not want to see a gay relationship depicted. Think of the term ‘bromance’ – a dynamic that employs romantic tropes, all the while not actually fulfilling them (Masad n.p.). Queerbaiting can be understood as referring to instances of queer performativity, while not keeping the promises made in this way, in order to create a cultural product (such as a novel, movie, TV series, etc.) which is compatible with the preferences of the (heteronormatively inclined) masses. Members of the queer community are thus able to decipher and identify with certain (more or less obvious) signs of a queer performance, but are in the end time and again disappointed as the performance of queerness is only used as ‘bait’ for them, while genuinely queer characters are not included. A famous example of this strategy, which is discussed by Fathallah, is the BBC series Sherlock, where obvious queer disruptions of the story can be found. A possible interpretation of Sherlock and Watson as a homosexual couple is rejected in season three by showing Watson marry a woman. Barker and Scheele define ‘queer moments’ (which may lead to queerbaiting) as follows: “Queer moments are those that disrupt the narrative and destabilize heteronormativity by highlighting what is integral to it: moments which demonstrate that gender is performative, that identities are not fixed, or that queer attractions are possible” (Barker/Scheele 103). Including the possibility of interpreting certain scenes in a series/movie or passages in a novel in both a heterosexual and a queer manner may be considered queerbaiting if the queerness is withdrawn in the end.1 Yet queering (for example in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, where cucumber sandwiches might signify more than just sandwiches) may be used to reinterpret novels or series, as meaning is by definition culturally constructed and thus variable: 1 A further problem of debates on queerbaiting so far seems to be that the term is almost exclusively used to refer to male homosexuality – bisexuality, asexuality and female homosexuality are excluded. Continuously disregarding certain members of the queer community is, of course, highly problematic. Lesbians, asexuals, bisexuals and other non-heteronormative persons need representation, too. QUEERBAITING 197 Queer reading, or analysis, is often called ‘queering’ as it frequently involves rendering a text queerer by reading it in a certain way. Queer theorists and post-structuralists would argue that there’s never one ‘true’ reading of any text – not even the one the author intended. Rather, there are always many possible readings, and the reader is implicated in the meanings that are (re)produced. As Foucault said, we are agents of the systems of power and knowledge that are in place, as well as being effects of them (Barker/Scheele 102). A text may include more or less obvious clues, inviting a reader to decipher it in a queer and/or heteronormative way. Yet, more often than not, queer disruptions (i.e., moments of destabilised heteronormativity) and the “possibility of queer identities and desires are dismissed as a joke, or a fantasy in the minds of a less valued minority” (Fathallah 491), which leads to a silencing of queer voices and a refusal of providing room for queerness on screen and/or on the page (especially in popular culture): Queerbaiting may be defined as a strategy by which writers and networks attempt to gain the attention of queer viewers via hints, jokes, gestures, and symbolism suggesting a queer relationship between two characters, and then emphatically denying and laughing off the possibility. Denial and mockery reinstate a heteronormative narrative that poses no danger of offending mainstream viewers at the expense of queer eyes (ibid.). Yet a representation of members of the queer community, especially in so-called ‘mass’ culture, is vital to communicate alternative life and love choices to the public rather than showing them remain either in their closets or being queer in the old sense (meaning ‘weird’ or ‘odd’), at least from the heteronormative point of view.2 Queerbaiting is not enough. Instead, representations of actual queerness are needed in order to initiate a change and to avoid reproducing (binary) gender stereotypes. A ‘room of one’s own’ in the media might also help to tackle stereotypes, prejudices and fear or hate that can be traced back to many people’s lack of knowledge regarding LGBTQ identities. The negative effects of perpetuating stereotypes are not restricted to queerness, of course. A less prejudiced understanding of masculinity and femininity in general is needed as well. It is high time to overcome gender stereotypes which cause men to act in a supposedly ‘manly’ manner, showing strength while avoiding a display of emotions and which encourage women to favour weak and helpless demeanour. A representation of less stereotypical and more realistic characters on the page as well as on screen might help to promote the idea that not all females or males are alike, adhering to a comparatively fixed gender role, but are (or at least should be) free to choose how to live their life. Yet, as Masad emphasises, a perpetuation of gender stereotypes is one of the problems that causes queerbaiting: [I]t is extremely important to see portrayals of deep, emotional, non-sexual romantic male friendships in popular culture. Currently, there are very few on offer. Toxic masculinity, a social condition that dictates men must act a certain way in order to be acceptably manly, has damaged portrayals of male friendships on TV, in our films, on the page. Pop culture too often settles for stereotypes: men talk about sports, boast about sex, and don’t touch one another. Any emotional or physical closeness is brushed away as ‘gay’ in a pejorative sense. Because of what we see, it’s no wonder there is a sense of insecurity and shame about physical intimacy of any sort between men – sexual or not. The lack of representation of even casual intimacy between men may be one of the reasons fans so desperately wish these male characters into romantic relationships – leading to accusations of queerbaiting when they don’t see their fantasy officially told. This isn’t to say that queerbaiting isn’t real – but there’s a reason 2 This does not mean, however, that queer characters should be included just to appeal to a queer audience; instead, if the author has a queer character in mind, this character should be depicted thus and not hidden away to avoid discomfort or even outrage amongst the readership. MARTHE-SIOBHÁN HECKE 198 why we see closeness between men as almost intrinsically gay. And that is a problem in itself (Masad n.p.). Hence, representations of queerness as well as non-stereotypical depictions of males (and females), which allow for the display of intimacy, are needed in popular culture, for example in highly successful YA literature. The seven Harry Potter novels did not answer to this call; instead, the series is characterised by an absence of both queerness and intimacy – a problem which will be addressed in the following. IV. Harry Potter and the Curse of Heteronormativity, or: the absence of sexuality Although the Harry Potter series has a young audience in mind, in particular from book four onward both the tone and the topics get increasingly sinister and are, perhaps, no longer very child-friendly in the narrow sense; death, war, torture, and racism3 are among the issues the young heroes and heroines have to come to terms with. Various forms of discrimination are depicted in the novels, but discrimination due to skin colour, religion or sexual identity does not seem to be part of the underlying conflicts in the wizarding world. Nevertheless, the expressions of sex and gender by and large seem to adhere to the heterosexual matrix. There is not even one openly queer character in the entire series. Rowling has stated that she imagined certain characters to be gay, including Dumbledore,4 Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas (cf. Smith n.p.), but decided against them being openly gay. She even emphasised on Twitter that Hogwarts was a safe place for LGBT students (cf. Rowling 2014 n.p.), but chose not to comment on why she did not include diversity more overtly. Rowling may have wanted to avoid agitating more conservative readers (or parents), or maybe her publishers did not want a more diverse studentship. Whatever the reason may have been, the series lacks major identification figures for minorities, especially for members of the queer community. Dean and Seamus, Hogwarts’ potentially gay couple, seem to be heterosexuals after all (with Dean dating Ginny at one point). If Rowling considered them to be gay originally, she apparently decided against this option. Wise, tolerant and thoughtful Dumbledore, who stayed a bachelor his entire life after having fallen in love with Grindelwald in his youth, might have been a queer character to identify with. Instances of queerbaiting can be found in the series, but only by those who know what they are looking for, as can be seen in the description of Dumbledore’s relationship with Grindelwald.5 Rowling’s decision to let some characters out of the 3 Racism, understood as discrimination against non-magical persons, so-called Muggles, and all magical persons who are not so-called ‘pure-bloods’ is addressed extensively in the series. Cf. the contribution by Carsten Kullmann in this volume. 4 According to The Guardian (Smith n.p.), Rowling was surprised when the information that Dumbledore was gay was greeted with ovations and excitement by the queer community. One might perhaps speculate that Rowling did not see the necessity to include queer characters and thus underestimated the queer audience’s need for representation. But not all hope is lost: Rowling hinted at Dumbledore being openly gay in the Fantastic Beasts movie sequel (“As far as his sexuality is concerned,” she said, pausing for a moment. “Watch this space.”; McCluskey n.p.), which would be the first time that an openly queer character is depicted in any of the series’ instalments. One could argue that the scenes between Credence and Grindelwald in the 2016 movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them constitute queerbaiting as well because the two men seem to be unusually intimate with each other. Nevertheless, nothing was shown that could have supported this assumption. 5 That Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald as a young man could have only been guessed by those open to queerness, since there is no explicit textual basis for this assumption. QUEERBAITING 199 closet in retrospect cannot change the fact that the series seems to adhere to the heterosexual matrix in terms of the characters’ life choices and sexual identity.6 The main characters in the series are all apparently heterosexual and lead a rather conservative life in terms of gender identity: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Draco (to name just a few) all marry, have children and thus live a conventional life gender-wise. Almost all of their parents appear to have been happily married as well;7 divorces are not common practice in the wizarding world and alternative family constructions (e.g., homosexual wizard couples) are not presented at all. Although women are working in the wizarding world, the headmaster, the Minister for Magic, the main villain and even the hero, Harry, are male. Hermione truly is a heroine, but she arguably is not as important to Harry as Ron is.8 Most other female characters are only relevant as tough side-kicks, such as Professor McGonagall or Tonks, or as ‘evil’ witches like Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange. None of the female teachers at Hogwarts seems to have a family or a partner (of either sex), but neither do the male teachers. Although even Mrs Weasley turns out to be a ‘badass’ eventually, she is, first and foremost, the perfect housewife and it is never mentioned whether she has ever had a job. Of course, the representation of a freely chosen life as a housewife must be respected as well (no matter how traditional or old-fashioned it might seem). In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Hermione has become Minister for Magic, and Ginny is a formerly famous Quidditch player who now works as a journalist, which indicates that the role allocation seems to have changed significantly. As an intermediary result, one may argue that there is no overt representation of queer (and other) diversity in the novels, even though students at Hogwarts do have many different cultural backgrounds (e.g., Cho Chang, Parvati Patil), which are never considered a problem. As a matter of fact, reading Harry Potter was found to increase the readers’ empathy and tolerance towards minorities (cf. Vezzali et al.), as the exclusion of certain groups (especially of Muggle-borns and werewolves) and the cruel and depreciative slave-like treatment of magical creatures such as house-elves or goblins show racism in a different form. This positive influence should certainly not be underestimated. Yet, the positive effects of a representation of diversity and a critique of racism just mentioned render the lack of a depiction of openly queer characters even more deplorable, since a realistic representation of queer characters might have had very beneficial effects, too. One may of course also argue for a queer reading of the series which assumes parallels between the discrimination against non-pure-bloods and the current marginalisation of LGBTQ communities. Pure-blooded wizards and those descending from Muggles fight over where and how the wizarding world is in relation to the Muggle world. The conflicts between two of the school houses, Gryffindor and Slytherin, are based on the underlying ideologies of dreaming of a pure-blooded community, which rather oppresses Muggles than hiding from them to 6 It needs to be mentioned in this context that there are hardly any references to sexuality in the series: kissing is the only sexualised act that can be found in the novels. Even hugging is hardly referred to. 7 The relationship between Remus Lupin and (Nymphadora) Tonks could be described as troubled, but they eventually marry and have a child. Remus could be regarded as a queer character as well, because he is a werewolf and, therefore, more or less unable to lead a normal life, since society does not accept him to be a human with human rights. His struggles for acceptance in society because of his ‘sickness’ could be compared to the struggles of HIV-positive persons: both groups (HIV-positive persons and werewolves) are thought to be dangerous, hence are avoided, have difficulties finding/having a job, leading a normal life and having children. Lupin tries to leave Tonks because he is afraid his child might be sick and, therefore, an outcast as well. 8 Hermione, nevertheless, is very important to both Harry and the plot, especially in her (stereotypically feminine) role as a peace-keeper between Ron and Harry. She is also depicted as a strong female, however, which has to be acknowledged. MARTHE-SIOBHÁN HECKE 200 avoid exposure, versus a more liberal and tolerant idea of a community embracing everyone who is able to do magic.9 Rowling might have substituted racist- or queer-motivated hate, exclusion and discrimination in this world for problems of the non-pure bloods in the wizarding world, creating a different form of racism. But even if the problems that members of the queer community face today (in the real world) are replaced by a pseudo-biological racism based on an idea of ‘pure blood’, a more explicit representation of queerness (as a utopia or ideal society, where sex, gender and desires are a matter of free choice and not discriminated against) would have been possible. In many respects, it would not have made a difference for the story if Dumbledore was openly gay (and heartbroken because he once was blinded by his love) or if some students were bi-, trans-, homo- or asexual or something entirely different and fabulous, but it would have made a huge difference in terms of the representation of a diverse society. V. Queerbaiting in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Considering the ongoing discussions about the lack of queerness in the Harry Potter series, the publication of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child led to even more disappointment among members of the LGBTQ community, because it – once more – did not include openly queer characters. Masad quotes an enraged fan accusing the writers of the play of intentional queerbaiting, seeking to reach a wider audience without alienating more conservative readers/viewers: ‘The writers of the Cursed Child intentionally included this fan theory to draw us in, but decided to change it just enough so that they wouldn’t have to admit that they made two 11-year-olds gay,’ Jameson Ortiz, an LGBTQ campaigner and Harry Potter fan, told me. ‘It’s queerbaiting because they knew exactly who they were reeling in and why, but still decided to leave out the main attraction for all the fans they hooked, choosing instead, like so many others, to set up the gay romance, hint at it constantly, make it believable and deep and perfect, and then force it out of the story’ (Masad n.p.). There are ambiguous scenes in the play which make it possible to argue that the heteronormative interpretation at least is not the only viable one, but can be challenged via queering. In the following, I will argue that queer elements can be found in the play, but that these are often reduced to mere queerbaiting, because passages including compulsive heteronormativity eliminate the possibility of true queerness in many cases. When he first meets Scorpius Malfoy in Act One, Albus Potter decides to share a compartment on the Hogwarts Express with him, even though Rose Granger-Weasley (whom he has known since childhood) refuses to join them. The ambitious girl fears to befriend the wrong kind of student; after all, Scorpius’s father, Draco Malfoy, was their parents’ antagonist and a Death Eater, though a reluctant one. Seeing the lonely blonde boy, whom he does not know yet, all alone in a compartment, Albus decides to stay – not because of Scorpius’s company, but for his sweets, or that is what he says at least (cf. Child 17). One might suspect another reason, however; after all, the boys who seem to like each other are both outsiders. Albus and Scorpius are not only descendants of two very famous families in the wizarding world, but they have also inherited their fathers’ looks. Despite having discussed the possibility of being sorted into the ‘wrong’ house with his father, Albus is still confused by the deci- 9 One could argue that Voldemort dreams of a totalitarian state with torture, persecution of lateral thinkers/so-called ‘Mudbloods’ and Dumbledore of a more democratic community based on human rights, tolerance and peace. The vital question seems to be what kind of society the wizarding world wants to become in the future. QUEERBAITING 201 sion of the Sorting Hat, which confirms his role as an outsider. After the sorting, he has to struggle not only with his famous father, whose looks and name he shares and whose legacy he is expected to live up to, but also with being in the ‘wrong’ house and in the ‘wrong’ company: a Potter in Slytherin.10 In a queer reading, this struggle with the expectations of family and society might be interpreted as the struggle of persons trying to come to terms with their identity and specifically their sexuality. In the following years (which are summarised on a few pages), Harry proves to be incapable of understanding his son, who is unpopular in school, is teased by fellow students and largely isolates himself (cf. ibid. 28). The only one Albus can talk to in this situation is his friend Scorpius, who has to cope with the rumour that he is Voldemort’s son. The only solace the two lonely boys have is each other’s company and friendship (“‘[B]e my good friend’” , ibid. 29). Before his son’s fourth year at Hogwarts starts, Harry tries to find a way to communicate with him, but they end up fighting and Harry states that “‘there are times I wish you weren’t my son’” (ibid. 44). This scene proves to be a crucial turning point. Up to this scene, the relationship between the two young men seems to conform to heteronormativity. Albus and Scorpius are best friends, both are outsiders, but they seem to be happy that they have each other.11 Scorpius in fact appears to be romantically interested in Rose. But then 15-year-old Albus does something out of the ordinary (even for him), because he “hugs his friend. With fierceness. They hold for a beat. SCORPIUS is surprised by this” (ibid. 55, original emphasis). Scorpius says: “‘Okay. Hello. Um. Have we hugged before? Do we hug?’”, while the stage direction states: “[t]he two boys awkwardly dislocate” (ibid. 55, original emphasis). The two boys’ demeanour suggests that physical contact does not seem to have been normal for them so far.12 That Albus now all of a sudden initiates physical contact might be interpreted as an expression of his need for being comforted by the only person who understands him. Alternatively, the hug might also be more than a gesture of understanding between friends, especially as the experience is awkward for both of them. Masad reads the repeated references to Albus and Scorpius hugging “in a manner resembling the common trope ‘Hot Gay Hugging’: a hilarious title for the less-than-funny absence of casual intimacy allowed between homosexual characters” (Masad n.p.): while “[h]etero couples get to kiss, the gays are limited to a (hot gay) hug. And Albus and Scorpius do go for it, with all the awkwardness you’d expect from two English lads” (ibid.). Moreover, the two teenage boys defy the cliché that men cannot or do not want to talk about their feelings. After having broken into the Ministry of Magic and stolen the Time- Turner, Scorpius talks about Albus being a disappointment to his father – a situation which he, Scorpius, knows from his own relationship to Draco. Scorpius wants to discuss “‘difficult emotional issues’” (as Albus puts it) and tries to console his friend saying “‘My point is – there’s a reason – we’re friends, Albus – a reason we found each other, you know’” (Child 10 When Albus shows that he does not share his father’s talent for Quidditch, the other students call him “‘Albus Potter, the Slytherin Squib’” because “‘[h]e really isn’t like his father at all’” (Child 22). Moreover, Harry does not like Scorpius because he is Draco’s son (cf. ibid. 24). 11 One could certainly say that Albus and Scorpius resemble Harry and Ron, who were a team when they were students. But Ron and Harry were simply best friends and never showed any interest in each other outside this box. Both were interested in girls (something that was for example indicated by the awkwardness displayed by Ron when it came to hugging Hermione, although it took him some years to realise that she was, indeed, a girl with whom one could go to an event like the Yule Ball); there are no clues that Harry and Ron are not heterosexual. (Fan fiction obviously needs to be excluded in this context.) 12 It should be stressed that neither of the two is very much used to physical contact in general; in contrast to Albus, Scorpius is not even hugged by his father in the beginning. MARTHE-SIOBHÁN HECKE 202 88), before he is distracted. This might of course be a declaration of their friendship – or it might be a glimpse of them being more than just friends. The interaction with Delphi makes the boys’ friendship appear in a somewhat ambivalent light. Before using the Time-Turner, Albus practices spells with Delphi; he wins and they high-five, while Scorpius is watching from “the back of the stage. He looks at his friend talking to a girl – a part of him likes it and part of him doesn’t” (ibid. 105, original emphasis). Apparently, Scorpius, on the one hand, enjoys witnessing Albus having fun with someone else; on the other hand, he does not like it because he wants to stay his only friend. Alternatively, one could argue that Scorpius partially likes to see Albus interested in a girl and simultaneously dislikes Albus behaving in accordance with the heteronormative matrix. If Scorpius was merely jealous of Albus having a close connection to somebody else, the stage direction might have looked different (e.g., referring to Albus talking to somebody else, i.e., not to a girl). Later, Albus and Delphi work together on a plan and Scorpius “isn’t enjoying the DEL- PHI-ALBUS double act” (ibid. 106, original emphasis), which is why he suggests leaving Delphi instead of taking her along on their time travels. Before they use the Time-Turner, Scorpius declares that all he “‘ever wanted to do was go to Hogwarts and have a mate to get up to mayhem with. […] You’re my best friend, Albus’” (ibid. 113). The choice of the term ‘mate’ (and the reference to mayhem) reiterates a rhetoric of masculinity that apparently seeks to avoid queerness. When their first time-travelling goes wrong and Albus is injured, Harry wants his son to stay away from Scorpius in the future. Yet Albus refuses to do so, stressing their friendship (“‘[m]y best friend? My only friend?’” , ibid. 124). Albus’ refusal to forsake his friend makes Harry insist on having his son monitored by means of the Marauder’s Map, which enables him to trace his whereabouts in Hogwarts all the time. Albus is forced to obey his father, thus being unable to talk to a confused Scorpius (“ALBUS looks up at SCORPIUS and his heart breaks. He walks on.”; “SCORPIUS is left looking up after him. Heartbroken”, ibid. 130, original emphasis). If the two protagonists were a man and a woman, the stage directions just quoted would presumably be interpreted quite readily as being indicative of a romance. The two young men, though, might still only be read as friends, as the text is ambiguous. In a later scene, Albus and Scorpius meet again, but after the “two boys look at each other. Lost and hopeful – all at once [...] ALBUS looks away and the moment is broken – and with it, possibly, the friendship” (ibid. 137, original emphasis). Again, the wording is ambivalent; the stage direction can be read as an indication of romance or friendship. Against Harry’s wishes, Scorpius and Albus eventually meet in the library, quarrel over using the Time-Turner once more or not and finally reconcile. Albus comforts Scorpius, saying, “‘[Y]ou’re kind, Scorpius. To the depths of your belly, to the tips of your fingers’” and “SCORPIUS is moved by this” (ibid. 156, original emphasis). They dare to declare their affection to each other; Albus states that Scorpius is “‘the best person I know. And […] you make me stronger’” (ibid.), to which Scorpius responds by admitting: “‘I don’t much like my life without you in it either’” (ibid.). The two end up hugging (it is again Albus who initiates the physical contact), but their reaction is different from that in the earlier scene as they now smile at each other after the hug (cf. ibid. 157). They appear to be more at ease with their emotions. During the time travel, there is a scene that may be read as containing comparatively obvious sexual innuendo. The two boys plan to use the engorgement charm to humiliate Cedric during the Triwizard Tournament (and thus save him in the long run); they decide to practice the charm beforehand in the girl’s bathroom. This scene, where the two teenage boys are in the bathroom enlarging soap together, could easily be seen as having a double meaning: QUEERBAITING 203 SCORPIUS: So let me get this right – the plan is Engorgement… ALBUS: Yes. Scorpius, the soap if you may… SCORPIUS fishes a soap out of the sink. Engorgio! He fires a bolt from his wand across the room. The soap blows up to four times its size. SCORPIUS: Nice. Consider me engorgimpressed (ibid. 168, original emphasis). Although their next time travel fails again, Scorpius manages to change the timeline once more, and Albus and Scorpius end up back in the lake again: Scorpius is overwhelmed with joy because his friend is alive, unlike in the parallel universe (“‘You have no idea how good it is to see you again’” , ibid. 210). This is why Scorpius – (for the first time!) – “hugs ALBUS in the water, a difficult task” (ibid., original emphasis). Albus is confused, asking Scorpius if he has “‘been eating too many sweets again’” (ibid. 211); Scorpius replies that he has missed his friend being “‘all dry humour and Albus-y. I love it’” (ibid.). Scorpius says explicitly that he does not only adore Albus’s humour, but also his entire personality, which is a statement one perhaps would not expect from a fifteen-year-old teenager. Despite striking queer elements, which appear to become more prominent in the course of the play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ultimately undermines the tentatively established queerness and resumes a heteronormative stance. In the last but one scene of the play, Albus and Scorpius are once more in Hogwarts. They are very excited because Scorpius has asked Rose out; even if she said no, the boy still maintains that this is the “‘acorn that will grow into our eventual marriage’” (ibid. 321). Albus claims he thought he would be the “‘first of us to get a girlfriend’” (ibid. 322), and Scorpius mocks him for having a “‘thing about older women’” (ibid.). The two young men’s banter suggests that they adhere to compulsive heteronormativity; queer disruptions or queer interpretations of these passages are made virtually impossible. Then they meet Rose, and “ALBUS grins and punches SCORPIUS on the arm” (ibid. 323, original emphasis), a gesture that is perhaps meant as an encouragement. Albus is about to leave in order to meet his father when Scorpius hugs his friend (another queer disruption initiated by Scorpius), which confuses Albus (“‘What’s this? I thought we decided we don’t hug’” , ibid. 324). Whilst hugging his friend, Scorpius says that he “‘wasn’t sure. Whether we should. In this new version of us I had in my head’” (ibid.); they then “dislocate and grin at each other” (ibid., original emphasis). A queer reading of this passage is definitely possible: either the two have decided that physical contact between two men is nothing to be ashamed of (in defiance of homosexual panic), or they have even come to terms with their romantic feelings for each other. In other words, the scene described above could be understood as them having accepted either a friendship that allows a certain amount of intimacy, or even a non-platonic sexual interest. All in all, the relationship between Scorpius and Albus seems to be more complex and to go significantly further than the undeniably strong and lasting friendship between Ron and Harry in the novels, which is devoid of the ambiguity that is introduced in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The lack of ambiguity meant that Ron and Harry appeared to be at ease in their behaviour towards each other and in their interest in girls. Problems with hugging or other kinds of physical contact are not referred to in the series. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by contrast, depicts the relationship between the two new best friends in a very different manner, which has even led to the play being re-named “Harry Potter and the Curse of Heteronormativity” on Twitter (Baker-Whitelaw n.p.). But is it really queerbaiting? Masad concludes that even if the play just shows a deep friendship between the two male heroes (including a display of emotions and physical contact in defiance of clichés and homosexual panic), it should be celebrated as a representation of “a loving relationship between two boys, MARTHE-SIOBHÁN HECKE 204 who may or may not be in love. Because that achievement, while maybe not as progressive as some may want, is still progress” (n.p.). Works Cited Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia. Twitter. 01 August 2016. Last access: 04 January 2017. Barker, Meg John, and Julia Scheele. Queer: A Graphic History. Icon Books, 2016. Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory.” Theatre Journal 40.4 (1988): 519-31. ---. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 1990. ---. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. Taylor and Francis, 1993. Butler, Judith, and Katharina Menke. Haß spricht: Zur Politik des Performativen. 4th edition, Suhrkamp, 2013. Fathallah, Judith. “Moriarty’s Ghost: Or the Queer Disruption of the BBC’s Sherlock.” Television & New Media 16.5 (2015): 490-500. Masad, Ilana. “Harry Potter and the Possible Queerbaiting: Why Fans are Mad over a Lack of Gay Romance.” The Guardian. 16 August 2016. Last access: 04 January 2017. McCluskey, Megan. “J.K. Rowling Hints That Dumbledore Will Be Openly Gay in the Fantastic Beasts Sequel.” Time. 10 November 2016. Last access: 04 January 2017. Rowling, J.K., Jack Horne and John Tiffany. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two, Special Rehearsal Edition. Little Brown, 2016. Rowling, J.K. Twitter, 16 December 2014. Last access: 04. January 2017 Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Epistemology of the Closet. University of California Press, 2005. Smith, David. “Dumbledore was gay, JK tells amazed fans.” The Guardian. 21 October 2007. Last access: 04 January 2017. Vezzali, Loris, Sofia Stathi, Dino Giovannini, Dora Capozza and Elena Trifiletti. “The Greatest Magic of Harry Potter. Reducing Prejudice.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 45.2 (2015): 105-21. Aleksandra Szczodrowski Native Americans in J.K. Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” on Pottermore I. Introduction In 2014, J.K. Rowling published the “History of Magic in North America” series on the Pottermore online platform as part of the continuous expansion of her magical universe. The “History of Magic in North America” consists of four chapters, structured along a timeline: ‘Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century’, ‘Seventeenth Century and Beyond’, ‘Rappaport’s Law’, and ‘1920s Wizarding America’. It mostly focuses on (partly fictional) events after the colonisation of North America which began in 1492 and thus concentrates on the settler history of that continent. To be more precise, the “History of Magic in North America” briefly outlines the time period from the 14th century to the beginning of the 20th century in an area which is now known as the United States of America. In this pseudo-historical narrative, Rowling also attempts to represent Native Americans1 in order to describe their position in the magical world and their relations to the European colonisers, who began to settle in the Americas in the 15th century. As this contribution will seek to show, the result is problematic in several respects. The first chapter (‘Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century’) begins with a juxtaposition of European and Native American magic and concludes that European magic is more sophisticated due to the use of wands. In its second section (‘Seventeenth Century’), the struggles of the newly arrived European wizards are described. The Salem Witch Trials are presented as a traumatic example of the wrong-doings of Puritan religious persecution – yet without addressing the damage inflicted by the missionaries on Indigenous communities. Rowling then continues to build the wizarding world in the US by inventing institutions such as the MACUSA (Magical Congress of the United States of America), which is highly relevant in the narrated world and features prominently in the recent movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), which is set in America in the 1920s and uses these institutions as elements of the setting. Native Americans apparently do not play a role on such a high political level; in these passages of Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” they are not mentioned at all. This may serve as a first indication of the marginalisation of Native Americans in Rowling’s historiographic narrative set in the US. The inclusion of Native Americans in the magical history can of course be seen as an attempt to bring more diversity into the Harry Potter universe, which has often been criticised for its failure to represent the plurality and heterogeneity of contemporary societies. But this attempt at diversifying the franchise backfired, which is emphasised by the criticism provided by Indigenous scholars, such as Adrienne Keene, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and currently assistant professor at Brown University, and Allison Mills, who is of 1 This essay will mostly use the terms ‘Native Americans’ and ‘Indigenous peoples’ as J.K. Rowling does not differentiate between individual nations. While the term ‘Native Americans’ is generally accepted as being politically correct, it is not unproblematic because it homogenises the experiences and cultures of different Indigenous peoples. However, to a certain extent, Indigenous peoples from different nations do share similar experiences in the U.S. despite their different customs, traditions and cultures. ALEKSANDRA SZCZODROWSKI 206 Mushkegowuk Cree and French-Canadian descent and currently an IRSC research assistant at the University of British Columbia. One of the major starting points of criticism, as will be shown in the following, is the allegation that Rowling employs damaging stereotypes that construct Native Americans as vanishing and ‘unreal’ peoples. In fact, the ‘Vanishing Indian’ is a colonial stereotype that has been used as a means to legitimise the colonisation of North America and its Indigenous peoples. Thus, it can be argued that Rowling employs elements of colonial master narratives, represents dominantly a settler perspective and has consequently constructed a settler narrative in the “History of Magic in North America”. In order to analyse in how far Rowling’s North American history is indeed a settler narrative, this paper will focus particularly on the stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ in order to examine whether it has been perpetuated in the primary text. Additionally, Indigenous perspectives on historical events as well as on Rowling’s historiographic narrative will be taken into account to discuss some major issues of the “History of Magic in North America”. Core concepts of postcolonial studies, such as the ‘Other’ and modes of (self-)representation will also be addressed as they reveal the colonial stance of the text.2 Finally, this article will also draw on postcolonial criticism of other texts of the Harry Potter series in order to analyse whether there are parallels between the representation of Native Americans in the “History” and that of ethnic minorities in other stories by Rowling. II. Dominant historiography and its impact on Indigenous peoples When Social Darwinist concepts, such as that of the ‘Vanishing Indian’, can be identified in historiographic discourses, it is possible to say that history is a narrative constructed by those who are in power. Historical narratives are highly selective and must be regarded as such. In a country like the US, there are many marginalised social groups whose perspectives are still being neglected and are usually not admitted in dominant historiographic discourses. However, a paradigmatic shift occurred in the 1960s/1970s (cf. Miller 26) and since then, marginalised groups, such as Indigenous peoples, have increasingly attempted to deconstruct, complement and correct the dominant discourses. Still, up to this day, North American history has been mainly understood and taught from a Eurocentric perspective which favours the idea of settlers as “brave people who bring enlightenment and civilization to a benighted continent” (ibid. 25). However, US history does not begin in the year 1492, i.e., with the arrival of Columbus, as the American continent had been inhabited by culturally diverse peoples long before. In fact, “systems of knowledge” have been developed in North America for thousands of years before colonialisation (ibid.). Despite these known facts, pejorative representations of Indigenous cultures and knowledge systems continue and may contribute to psychological conditions of “cognitive dissonance and self-hatred” (ibid. 26), i.e., issues that are addressed in many Indigenous novels which employ Indigenous self-representation, such as The Night Wanderer (2007) by Drew Hayden Taylor or Monkey Beach (2000) by Eden Robinson. Both novels express the need for historiographic revision. In both texts, adolescent protagonists experience the continuous misrepresentation of their peoples’ histories but they react differently to it. In Taylor’s novel, the protagonist feels disconnected from the history of his people and expresses the general lack of interest in this history (cf. Taylor 29). In Robinson’s novel, the protagonist resists misrepre- 2 Even though this paper employs postcolonial concepts, it is necessary to point out that a postcolonial approach needs to be aware of the fact that from the perspective of Indigenous peoples colonisation is not over, i.e., the ‘post-’ cannot be understood in the sense of ‘after’. They have been and continue to be colonised and their struggle for sovereignty is going on. NATIVE AMERICANS IN “HISTORY OF MAGIC IN NORTH AMERICA” 207 sentation by singing the song “Fuck the Oppressors” in class (cf. Robinson 68-69). Those examples emphasise that a false representation of Indigenous peoples and their histories does have an ongoing negative impact on those who are represented. III. On postcolonial concepts of the ‘Other’ and modes of representation Postcolonial studies constitute a fruitful approach for understanding the (mis-)representation of Indigenous peoples as they critically engage with the relationship between the coloniser and the colonised and are highly critical of the narratives colonisers have employed in order to justify the colonisation and subsequent exploitation of the countries’ resources and the dispossession of Indigenous peoples. Even though the 20th century has seen many countries being decolonised, Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin note that all formerly as well as continuously colonised nations are subjected to “subtle forms of neo-colonial domination” (1). Hence, the term ‘postcolonialism’ does not imply a completed historical stage, but a “continuing process of resistance and reconstruction” (ibid. 2) and is therefore also applicable to Indigenous cultures. The ‘Other’ is a key concept in postcolonial studies. It describes the colonisers and their concepts of “law, political economy, and ideology” (Spivak 24) as ‘Subject’, or, more precisely, as the norm. Everything outside that norm is deemed the ‘Other’. The ‘Other’ is characterised by “ideas of barbarity, exoticism, mysticism, magic, sensuality, and so on” (Grigoryan 7). This stance suggests a backwardness of the ‘Other’. Therefore, the Subject is able to make claims of superiority which are needed in order to colonise other nations. Thus, the ‘Other’ is entangled in a struggle for power. Those binary constructions have had and continue to have very real implications for how ‘Others’ are seen and treated by society, economy, politics and law. The concept of the ‘Other’ leads to the question of representation as the coloniser hinders the ‘Others’ in their self-representation (cf. Spivak 25). Only by being able to represent themselves are colonial subjects able to rewrite the harmful constructions which have been imposed on them by the coloniser. Spivak emphasises that it is vital that the Subalterns can represent themselves in a heterogeneous, polyphonous way in order to avoid a favouring of elitist, intellectual voices (cf. 26). For this paper, this means that it is vital to draw on Indigenous perspectives in order to deconstruct dominant historiographic narratives. Only heterogeneous Indigenous perspectives will be able to break the cycle of continuous misrepresentation through Othering and other means. IV. The representation of Native Americans in the “History of Magic in North America” Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” illustrates that dominant colonial narratives still influence discourses in Great Britain (and beyond). It emphasises the need for Indigenous peoples to represent themselves so that their customs, traditions and cultures are not at risk of being misrepresented or silenced. Particularly Rowling’s association of Indigenous beliefs with magic has been criticised because “Native spirituality and religions are not fantasy on the same level as wizards. These beliefs are alive, practised, and protected” (Keene “Franchise”, n.p.). Throughout colonial history, Native spirituality has not been respected because it was seen as regressive and ‘prehistoric’ (cf. Goldie 130). However, configuring Native spirituality as ‘fantasy’ is simply wrong and follows the pattern of imposing colonial perspectives and norms on the cultures of the colonised. Additionally, this interpretation of Indigenous spirituality ignores the systematic oppression of Native American beliefs which have only become protected under the Indigenous Religious Freedom Act of 1978 in the US (cf. d’Errico 19). ALEKSANDRA SZCZODROWSKI 208 Indigenous peoples struggle to this day to have their beliefs and traditions acknowledged and respected, as the ongoing Standing Rock protests prove. This is why Rowling’s narrative has the potential to do harm, as it is insensitive towards contemporary issues of Indigenous communities. In the first section of her historiographic narrative Rowling constructs the real practices of shamans and hunters as customs exhibited by witches and wizards and represents them consequently as ‘magic’: “In the Native American community, some witches and wizards were accepted and even lauded within their tribes, gaining reputations for healing as medicine men, or outstanding hunters” (‘Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century’ n.p.). This account ignores the fact that shamans are vital for Indigenous communities (cf. Mills n.p.) and that they “serve as healers, educators, and cultural consultants, and are often well versed in traditional spiritual practices, cultural knowledge, and language”, as Hartman and Gone note (quoted in Mills n.p.). By ignoring these facts, Rowling falls in line with many other authors who have put Native Americans into the same category as mythical beings (cf. Keene, “Franchise” n.p.). Equating Indigenous peoples and their cultures with mythical beings suggests that they are ‘unreal’, which correlates with a colonial master narrative legitimising colonial appropriation: if Indigenous peoples are not seen as fellow humans, North America was not colonised or invaded but just discovered and settled. This also implies that the cultural genocide of its Indigenous inhabitants could not have taken place, as their cultures were not ‘real’ to begin with. In addition to constructing Indigenous spiritual beliefs and peoples as magical and thus ‘unreal’, Rowling casts Native American magic as inferior to European magic because of the absence of wands in Indigenous communities. This claim of inferiority can be supported by Rowling’s definition of wands: “Wands channel magic so as to make its effects both more precise and more powerful” (‘Fourteenth Century – Seventeenth Century’ n.p.). Taking an Indigenous perspective into account the wands may almost be read as guns, which have been a primary symbol for European means of violence (cf. Mills n.p.). At the same time, Rowling suggests an Indigenous sophistication in animal and plant magic, which seems to be a positive feature at first glance. But a closer look reveals that this construction of Native American ‘magical expertise’ actually perpetuates the stereotype of the ‘Noble Savage’. This stereotype conceptualises Native Americans as “at one with nature, [living] ‘free’ and unburdened with worry” (Fort 309). Not only does this stereotype construct Native American cultures as static, as being stuck in pre-European contact times, but it also implies that, due to this fact, it seems only natural that advancing (European) civilisations would make “tribes and tribal citizens” (ibid.) disappear. As Rowling implicitly “denies scientific advancements made by indigenous peoples” (Mills n.p.) she reiterates the harmful dichotomy of savagery vs. civilisation when writing about the magical abilities of Native Americans. This ultimately contributes to the ongoing cycle of misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples. V. The stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ Rowling’s construction of Native Americans as pre-historic, less developed and even ‘unreal’ leads to the discussion of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ stereotype which Indigenous critics largely associate with Rowling’s narrative (cf. Little n.p.). As was already pointed out above, this stereotype locates Indigenous peoples in a pre-historic and pre-scientific context and correlates with the assumption that Rowling’s portrayal of Native Americans perpetuates historical discourses which other and misrepresent Indigenous peoples and cultures. The concept of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ was established between 1787 and the early 1800s and it continues to influence legislature and discourses to this day (cf. Fort 309). The notion NATIVE AMERICANS IN “HISTORY OF MAGIC IN NORTH AMERICA” 209 of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ describes the construction of Native Americans as peoples of the past who were responsible for their cultural demise due to their supposedly uncivilised ways (cf. ibid. 310). Inherent in this stereotype is the idea that it was only logical that Native Americans would give up their traditional ways in order to choose the allegedly more advanced European ways of living. Consequently, assimilation was favoured and enforced, suggesting that only through their integration into settler society, Native Americans could escape the threat of “death and extermination” (ibid. 313). However, assimilation also meant the “eradication of Native American spirituality” (d’Errico 19) in favour of so-called civilisation (cf. Fear-Segal 327). Therefore, it is fair to say that assimilation contributes to the eradication of cultural identity on an individual level as well. This also means that Rowling has made use of a stereotype which has played a major role in the oppression and erasure of Indigenous spiritual beliefs. It may appear rather cynical to use those stereotypes in order to represent Indigenous ‘magic’ while contributing to a repression of those spiritual beliefs in discursive reality. The stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ has most famously been institutionalised in the Johnson v McIntosh landmark from 1823, which ruled that private persons could not buy land from Native Americans: “[a]s the white population advanced, that of the Indians necessarily receded....The soil... being no longer occupied by its ancient inhabitants, was parceled out according to the will of the sovereign power” (quoted in Fort 318). This landmark in jurisdiction claims a ‘natural’ decline and disappearance of Native Americans from their lands and erases the oftentimes violent encounters between settlers and Native Americans regarding especially the use of land. Consequently, it justifies colonial expansion by suggesting that the advancement of the White European settlers in North America was only natural and not forced or violent by any means. This notion of a ‘natural’ disappearance of Native American cultures has always been a gross misrepresentation of reality (cf. Fort 311). Indigenous peoples continue to inhabit North America and they continue to struggle for “land and water rights, hunting and fishing, religious freedom, criminal and civil jurisdiction” (d’Errico 7). Adrienne Keene also emphasises that “we’re [Indigenous peoples] not magical creatures, we’re contemporary peoples who are still here, and still practice our spiritual traditions, traditions that are not akin to a completely imaginary wizarding world” (“Franchise” n.p.). By contrast, the stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ has contributed to making Indigenous peoples appear less ‘real’ and thus perfectly suitable for Othering constructions (cf. Goldie 158). The construction of Indigenous peoples as vanishing cultures also obstructs discussions of the brutal aspects of colonialisation like the establishment of reservations (which contributed to the dispossession of Indigenous peoples), boarding schools and other dimensions of cultural genocide such as the massacres of the Pequot in 1637 and of the Narrangansett in 1675 (cf. d’Errico 19). In fact, Goldie emphasises that the concept of a ‘Vanished Race’ is used precisely in order to avoid facing the contemporary issues Indigenous peoples are subjected to (cf. 155). Rowling largely fails to mention the aspects of colonialism mentioned above and thus erases a significant part of North American history in favour of a Eurocentric perspective. She only briefly mentions a ‘conflict’ (cf. ‘Seventeenth Century and Beyond’ n.p.) between settlers and Native Americans in the 17th century, but does not go into detail, thus confirming the dominant discourse. VI. Cultural appropriation Another aspect of Rowling’s pseudo-historiographic account which needs to be addressed is her representation of the skinwalker, which in her story is mainly used as proof for Indigenous magic. The skinwalker is described as a Native American legend (cf. ‘Fourteenth Century – ALEKSANDRA SZCZODROWSKI 210 Seventeenth Century’ n.p.); in other words, a creature which only plays a part in spiritual beliefs of the Navajo is homogenised. The skinwalker is an evil-spirited person who can change into animal form in order to bestow evil on others (cf. Anon. n.p.). Therefore, they are said to be feared creatures, and members of the Navajo community refuse to talk about them (cf. Keene, “Part 1” n.p.). Rowling’s narrative, however, separates the skinwalker from its cultural context by claiming that the skinwalkers are merely a legend that was spread by No- Majs3 in order to demonise wizards (cf. Mills n.p.). Thus, she fails to acknowledge that skinwalkers have their roots in the reality of Navajo spirituality and instead asserts her own interpretation of a foreign cultural concept. The process of ‘borrowing’ content from different, often marginalised cultures and imposing one’s own interpretations onto a specific feature of a culture is known as ‘cultural appropriation’. The lack of respect for intellectual and cultural property rights is an issue which is largely discussed in the context of marginalised communities such as First Nations and Native Americans. Cultural appropriation is a main instrument of “cultural destruction” (Mathiesen 462) which has been caused by colonialisation. The appropriation of certain aspects of Indigenous cultures serves as a means to portray those cultures as “‘exotic’, ‘authentic’, ‘spiritual’, or ‘savage’” (ibid.). Hence, cultural appropriation is yet another tool which manifests the idea of Native Americans as ‘prehistoric’ and inferior peoples and cultures. It is supported by “unethical research practices, collecting and selling stories, art and craft styles, and music” (ibid.). One can argue that unethical research practices as well as the appropriated retelling of stories by means of misrepresentation do in fact surface in Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” as well. As cultural appropriation remains one of the most debated issues of contemporary Indigenous struggles, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars have created a set of best practices in the form of the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (PNAAM) in 2006 (cf. Mathiesen 456). These protocols serve as recommendations on how to deal with “Native American traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge” (ibid.). Even though these protocols focus on archival work, they surely help to foster a profound knowledge of Indigenous peoples and cultures for authors of fictional works, too. This example shows that there are already means of assistance available for non-Indigenous peoples which Rowling (and others, who do exactly the same thing in novels, movies and TV series)4 could have used. VII. Indigenous struggles and endurance In the last part of Rowling’s “History”, Indigenous struggles and endurance are at least mentioned. Indeed, the chapter ‘1920s Wizarding America’ mentions an example of Indigenous resistance to colonisation. The act of resistance that is described is a fictitious event called the Great Sasquatch Rebellion of 1892, which is initiated by the mythical Sasquatch creatures. The fact that this rebellion bears quite obvious similarities with the actual Battle of Little Bighorn, as Mills notes is disturbing (cf. ibid.); Rowling’s narrative, once again, appears to suggest that Indigenous peoples are mythical beings. Since the Sasquatch resembles a “prototypical pre-human, a liminal man-beast, not quite wild and not quite tame” (Simon n.p.), Indigenous peoples are being associated with a pre-historical context once more. Moreover, they are arguably even depicted as animal-like. This is in fact a mode of representation which 3 No-Majs are the American equivalent to Muggles. 4 Adrienne Keene’s blog “Native Appropriations” can be highly recommended for the purpose of engaging with the ongoing misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in popular culture. NATIVE AMERICANS IN “HISTORY OF MAGIC IN NORTH AMERICA” 211 has been widely circulated throughout colonial history (cf. Goldie 25). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, when scientific racism was at its peak, depictions of African Americans and Indigenous peoples as, often ape-like, animals were circulated in order to institutionalise white supremacy. Given this history of racist thinking, the parallel between Sasquatches and Indigenous peoples can unfortunately only be considered as bearing traces of racist imagery and being deeply harmful. In addition, the parallel between Indigenous peoples and the non-human participants of the Sasquatch Rebellion may also be read as suggesting a disappearance of Indigenous peoples by the end of the 19th century, which is yet another confirmation of the stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’. This observation is confirmed by the book title “Big Foot’s Last Stand” (‘1920s Wizarding America’ n.p.), which suggests that the Great Sasquatch Rebellion was indeed the final major act of resistance. In this case, Rowling’s pseudo-historiographic version of the US-American past misrepresents historical reality in at least two ways: firstly, the Battle of Little Bighorn (1876) was won by Indigenous peoples (cf. Mills n.p.) and, secondly, Indigenous peoples continue to resist their colonisers to this day. It remains unclear why Rowling decided to refer to a real historical event in such an erroneous way, but it is clear that all of this amounts to a harmful and distorted representation of Indigenous peoples and their ongoing struggles. Despite the dominant presence of the stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’, there is an indication in the text that Indigenous peoples have endured after all. In the last chapter (‘1920s Wizarding America’) there is a hint that Indigenous peoples have assimilated successfully into settler society. This is exemplified by introducing the character of Shikoba Wolfe, who is of Choctaw descent and a wandmaker. Here, Rowling does not use a term that homogenises Native Americans, but refers specifically to the Choctaw. Still, as discussed above, the wand is the ultimate symbol of the allegedly superior European ‘technology’. Thus, while the hint at assimilation is certainly not wrong, historically speaking, the reference to a Native American character fails to acknowledge the endurance and resistance Indigenous peoples have shown in order to maintain their own cultures, customs and traditions. VIII. Race and ethnicity in the Harry Potter series The frequent misrepresentation and stereotypical depiction of Native Americans in the “History” raises the question of how Rowling dealt with ethnic and racial minorities in the Harry Potter series. At first sight, questions of race and ethnicity are primarily discussed in the context of the ‘blood status’ of witches and wizards in Harry Potter. Throughout the series, Harry and his friends fight against the supremacist ideology of Lord Voldemort and his followers, who see witches and wizards who are either Muggle-born or ‘half-bloods’ as unworthy of being part of the wizarding community.5 Consequently, the fight for equality and against discrimination plays a prominent role among the main themes of Harry Potter. Nevertheless, upon closer examination there are still issues of racism in which the protagonists in the Harry Potter series are complicit. This racism is not directed against human beings, but against the non-human and semi-human beings that appear in the novels (cf. Green n.p.). Hermione Granger and her activism for the house-elves is an exception rather than the norm. Interestingly enough, Green actually refers to Native Americans and the stereotype of the ‘Vanishing Indian’ when discussing the situations of giants and centaurs in the wizarding world (cf. ibid.). Both giants and centaurs live on allocated land, just as many 5 Cf. the article by Carsten Kullmann in this volume for a more extensive discussion of this aspect of the series. ALEKSANDRA SZCZODROWSKI 212 Native Americans have done in reality (cf. ibid.). Furthermore, they are dependent on the Ministry of Magic and have no sovereign status (cf. ibid.), just like many Indigenous communities today. Especially due to Rowling’s construction of various non-human creatures as being endowed with a human intelligence, this mistreatment is bound to cause concern. Nobody except for Hermione actively advocates the “full civil rights and equal protection under Wizarding law” (ibid. n.p.) of those beings; thus, the majority at least tacitly acquiesces with institutionalised marginalisation and mistreatment. On this basis, one could argue that Rowling refers to racism in the Harry Potter series, as the similarities between Native American realities and the fictional experiences of giants, centaurs and house-elves in the series strongly suggest. The discussion of ethnicity in the Harry Potter series raises the question why Rowling continues to reproduce colonial thought patterns while clearly attempting to write a story advocating equality in other respects. Anatol’s reading of Rowling’s relation to the ideological legacy of the British Empire certainly offers a viable perspective: “the stories actually reveal how difficult it is for contemporary British subjects such as Rowling to extricate themselves from the ideological legacies of their ancestors” (165). Despite her efforts of being inclusive and respectful in her writing, Rowling has grown up in a culture which still tends to romanticise its imperialist past. The colonial legacy and a lack of subversive discourse contribute to the ongoing reproduction of harmful stereotypes, especially in popular culture. Furthermore, even though Harry Potter transcends a lot of boundaries between “domestic and foreign, civilised and savage” (Anatol 168), for example by humanising non-human and semi-human beings, Hogwarts, i.e., the school educating human witches and wizards, always remains the “true center of intellectual, spiritual, and cultural enlightenment” (ibid.). As a consequence, the ‘Other’ is still assigned to her/his marginalised position despite her/his human capabilities. Therefore, the novels never subvert the dominant discourse, which affirms that “outlying regions of the world have no life, history, or culture to speak of, no independence or integrity worth representing without the West” (Said quoted in Anatol 172). Thus, respect and the universal good remain concepts that are essentially reserved for the dominantly white, British characters of Harry Potter: in Harry Potter, the ‘Other’ by and large remains at the margins and is thus subjected to misrepresentation and stereotypes. IX. Conclusion The example of the “History of Magic in North America” exemplifies how dominantly colonial discourses may still control the mechanisms of selection and representation operating in historiographies written in the 21st century. As a consequence, it misrepresents Indigenous peoples in a harmful way. Instead of truly engaging with the colonisation of North America from an Indigenous perspective, Rowling draws upon master narratives and stereotypes that have been established and perpetuated by the coloniser. Her historiographic narrative reiterates the widely disseminated stereotype that Indigenous peoples are ‘prehistoric’, ‘unreal’ and inferior. Therefore, similar to many other products of contemporary popular culture, the “History of Magic in North America” unfortunately perpetuates the misrepresentation of Native Americans. Rowling’s pseudo-historiography matters because she is one of the most influential authors of the 21st century and has fans from all over the world. Many of her fans will now have gained a false understanding of Indigenous peoples and their cultures. Rowling’s silence regarding this issue certainly does not help either.6 6 Rowling, who is usually very responsive on Twitter, has not positioned herself in any replies to the Indigenous criticism of her narrative (cf. Keene, “Part 1” n.p.). NATIVE AMERICANS IN “HISTORY OF MAGIC IN NORTH AMERICA” 213 Indigenous studies contribute to challenging the aforementioned stereotypes by emphasising that Indigenous peoples and cultures have endured to this day and continue to struggle for land rights and sovereignty. They revise dominant historiographic discourses by highlighting the oppression, assimilation and attempted annihilation Indigenous peoples have been subjected to. They offer perspectives that challenge and subvert dominant discourses. Despite the fact that research in Indigenous studies is readily available, Rowling perpetuates the master narrative which has justified colonial exploitation and oppression for centuries. Her attempt at making her magical world more diverse does not work out. She has failed her Indigenous readers and fans, who have had to come to terms with yet another misrepresentation of their peoples and cultures. Mills warns that the stereotyping that is used in “History of Magic in North America” is in fact highly “damaging” and “has a negative impact on their [young people’s] self-esteem” (n.p.), especially due to the international visibility of the franchise. The shortcomings of the “History of Magic in North America” emphasise the relevance of including Indigenous voices in literature and other forms of cultural representation in order to be able to narrate Indigenous stories accurately. The issues which have been discussed in this paper are supposed to encourage non- Indigenous authors who are interested in writing about Indigenous peoples to work thoroughly with Indigenous perspectives. There are ways of finding assistance in this endeavour, as the Protocols for Native American Archival Materials (PNAAM) show. The continuous misrepresentation and marginalisation of Indigenous peoples in literature and popular culture can only be stopped by engaging in a culturally sensitive research on Indigenous cultures and traditions and by providing the discursive space for self-representation. Indigenous peoples have endured to this day despite ongoing attempts at assimilation and annihilation. Their spiritual beliefs are real and valid and should not be appropriated. The example of the “History of Magic in North America” demonstrates that there is still a lot that needs to be done in order to ensure a sovereign space for Indigenous peoples in various fields of cultural production. Works Cited Anatol, Giselle Liza. “The Fallen Empire: Exploring Ethnic Otherness in the World of Harry Potter.” Reading Harry Potter: Critical Essays, edited by Giselle Liza Anatol, Praeger, 2003. 163-78. Anon. “Navajo Skinwalker Legend.” Navajo Legends. Last access: 13 May 2017. Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. “General Introduction.” The Post-Colonial Studies Reader, edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, 2nd edition, Routledge, 2007 [1995]. 1-4. D’Errico, Peter. “Native Americans in America: A Theoretical and Historical Overview.” Wicazo Sa Review 14.1 (1999): 7-28. Fear-Segal, Jacqueline. “Nineteenth-Century Indian Education: Universalism versus Evolutionism.” Journal of American Studies 33.2 (1999): 323-41. Fort, Kathryn. “The Vanishing Indian Returns: Tribes, Popular Originalism, and the Supreme Court.” Saint Louis University Law Journal 57.297 (2013): 297-338. ALEKSANDRA SZCZODROWSKI 214 Goldie, Terry. Fear and Temptation: The Image of the Indigene in Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Literatures. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1993. Green, Amy M. “Revealing Discrimination: Social Hierarchy and the Exclusion/Enslavement of the Other in the Harry Potter Novels.” The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Literature 13.3 (2009). Last access: 19 August 2017. Grigoryan, Masha. “Wand-ering Between Worlds: ‘Other’ Identities in Harry Potter.” Legilimens!: Perspectives in Harry Potter Studies, edited by Christopher Bell, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. 7-18. Keene, Adrienne. “‘Magic in North America’: The Harry Potter Franchise Veers too Close at Home.” Native Appropriations, 07 March 2017. Last access: 24 April 2017. ---. “Magic in North America Part 1: Ugh.” Native Appropriations, 08 March 2016. Last access: 24 April 2017. Little, Becky. “Native Americans to J.K. Rowling: We’re Not Magical.” National Geographic, 11 March 2016. Last access: 24 April 2017. Mathiesen, Kay. “A Defense of Native Americans’ Rights over their Traditional Cultural Expressions.” The American Archivist 75.2 (2012): 456-81. Miller, Susan. “Native Historians Write Back: The Indigenous Paradigm in American Indian Historiography.” Wicazo Sa Review 24.1 (2009): 25-45. Mills, Allison. “Colonialism in Wizarding America: J.K. Rowling’s History of Magic in North America through an Indigenous Lens.” The Looking Glass: New Perspectives on Children’s Literature 19.1 (2016). Last access: 19 August 2017. Robinson, Eden. Monkey Beach. Houghton Mifflin Books, 2000. Rowling, Joanne K. “History of Magic in North America.” Pottermore. Last access: 24 April 2017. Simon, Edward. “Why Bigfoot Sightings are so Common across Cultures.” The Atlantic, 26 October 2016. Last access: 21 June 2017. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” The Post-Colonial Studies Reader, edited by Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin, Routledge, 1995. 24-28. Taylor, Drew Hayden. The Night Wanderer: A Native Gothic Novel, Annick Press, 2012 [2007]. Franziska Göbel The Dark Arts: Violence, Incest and Rape in Harry Potter Fan Fictions Content Warning: This text contains examples of sexual violence in fan fiction as well as images that depart from the original characters of the Harry Potter series. I. Entering the Dark Arts In fan fiction, there is an unwritten rule that says ‘if you can imagine it, it exists’, and of course everything is possible in the deep realms of the World Wide Web. As a person who started reading fan fiction at quite a young age, I have seen many fictions that most people would consider very weird or plainly wrong. Mostly written for amusement, there are stories that, for example, tell their readers about the Teletubbies’ adventures in Tolkien’s Lothlórien, including elaborate translations of Teletubbese to make sure the reader understands the dialogues between elves and the brightly coloured creatures that carry TV screens in their bellies.1 The fans of the Harry Potter series are no less creative when it comes to fan fiction. Plots range from the development of friendships and first romances of various Hogwarts students to explicit depictions of sexual acts in any imaginable way. A case in point is “The Sorting Hat’s Love”, which describes the Sorting Hat’s sexual desires, how he enchants Hermione to make her have sex with him and how Severus Snape’s physical features and sexual skills are the only possibility of breaking the spell and freeing Hermione from the Sorting Hat’s control – through penetration.2 The story is disturbing, even more so because it has been categorised as ‘Romance/Humor fiction’ and has apparently been written to create a humorous effect, though the story describes how Hermione is penetrated by both the Sorting Hat and Severus Snape while being under a spell and not able to give consent, i.e., while being raped. I thought I had seen it all when I found a piece of writing that exceeded my imagination about what people write and publish online in their leisure time. Some years ago, I stumbled across a live journal when I was searching for a romance fiction that involved either Lucius or Draco Malfoy. Because there was not much of a description given by the author (who calls himself ‘Nostrademons’), other than “[n]ever, ever let me have a keyboard at 4:00 AM” (Nostrademons n.p.), I read on and soon regretted this decision. The untitled story describes how Lucius Malfoy takes pleasure in drilling a hole in his son’s forehead with a hand drill and how Draco slowly dies in the process. The plot advances by depicting how the pleasure of the “soft velvety wetness, clinging all around his penis” nearly drives Lucius to the edge of madness when penetrating the brain of the dead body of his son, and how he climaxes, “shooting his load all over what had once been Draco’s thinking machine” (Nostrademons n.p.). Fantasy fiction and fan communities have become an important part of contemporary popular culture, though fan fictions of course constitute only one component of the creativity 1 This example refers to a fan fiction called “The Teletubbies’ Adventure in Lothlorien”, which was published by user LalaithElerrina on fanfiction.net. 2 “The Sorting Hat’s Love” was published by user hahaharrypulp on fanfiction.net. FRANZISKA GÖBEL 216 displayed by fans and their interaction in a fandom. The relevance and the varying literary complexity of fan fictions have been discussed extensively in cultural studies in recent years; although works written by fans may lack in artistic style, they are still read by many. They thus may influence the readership’s values and views of certain topics to a certain extent. In contrast to mere casual readers of fiction, fans re-read and (re-)interpret texts and are thereby able to shape the understanding of fictional characters within the fan community as well as of the beliefs and morals that certain texts convey (cf. Borah 355). With fan activity becoming more and more centred on the web, which provides access to connections outside the usual group of friends as well as anonymity, fans can choose to interact with other fans based on common interests. The fan is not a passive consumer anymore but increasingly becomes an active creator of fiction, whose works can be discussed with other fans immediately. Conversations among these chosen companions can quickly become quite personal (cf. ibid. 359-60) and, as is often the case in the realm of fan fiction, rather controversial. Nostrademons’ fiction is not an isolated case, as even on platforms designed to host fan fictions the number of stories that employ graphic depictions of violence, non-consensual sex, incest, pedophilia and murder is striking. About one third of all erotica fictions featuring Draco Malfoy on the online fan fiction platform Archive of Our Own are about rape.3 Searching for stories featuring other main characters, such as Hermione Granger or Harry Potter, leads to similar results. Many of these fictions have been written in an erotic manner that clearly aims at offering the reader sexual satisfaction. In the following, I will look more closely into some of the reasons that account for the popularity of (very graphic) erotic fan fiction and, more generally, the existence of quite a lot of disturbing content in fan fiction. I will suggest two different approaches by, firstly, discussing general characteristics of fan fiction which are conducive to the production of erotic fan fiction involving sexually violent scenes and, secondly, asking whether the Harry Potter series in particular contains themes and structures which invite the type of fan fiction that focuses on sexuality and (sexual) exploitation. II. Fan Fiction Erotica: The Light and the Dark Side Kroner distinguishes between a ‘Light Side’ and a ‘Dark Side’ in fan fictions (cf. 265). The label ‘Light Side’ describes romantic love stories, often containing references to sexual elements, ranging from innocent kisses to the explicit depiction of consensual sexual intercourse (cf. ibid. 271). Fictions dealing with non-consensual sexual actions, power play, perversion and violence are subsumed under the label ‘Dark Side’ (cf. ibid. 265). Romance and consensual sex as well as rape and torture are sometimes part of longer stories, where they are embedded in a more complex plot, but they may also be found in shorter works, which may focus on only one period of the characters’ relationship or a certain event. These stories may exist to prove a certain point (e.g. ‘a certain character is bad and does bad things’, or ‘a character is so attractive that anyone would want to engage in sexual activity with them’) or function purely as pornographic material (so-called ‘one-shots’, or PWPs, short for ‘plot what plot?’, or ‘porn without plot’). 3 This observation is based on search results on the platform Archive of Our Own (last access: 02 Apr. 2017), on which I searched for the total number of stories featuring a certain character of the Harry Potter series and compared this number with the results showing up for fictions about the same character that were categorised as ‘Romance’ and as ‘Rape/Non-Con’. For example, the total number of stories featuring Draco Malfoy at the time was 29.844, of which 4.072 contain elements of romance/erotica, while 1.385 works were tagged as ‘non-consensual’. VIOLENCE, INCEST AND RAPE IN HARRY POTTER FAN FICTIONS 217 Some stories that seemingly belong to the ‘Light Side’ also contain elements of angst, mental abuse or underage sex, which means that the distinctions can blur. Even stories about incest may be widely accepted among the fan fiction community, if incestuous sexual acts are not depicted as perversion and are based on a consensual, romantic relationship. In other words, “[i]ncest is ‘good’ if it is committed by good or likable people, like the Weasleys […]. The ethic dimension is never questioned, neither by the author, nor by the characters themselves” (Kroner 266). A romance story about Harry Potter and Severus Snape that results in consensual sex may describe pedophilia as well as the exploitation and abuse of a studentteacher relationship. Depending on when the story is set, it may also include illicit sexual relations with a minor, as the protagonist is underage in most of the novels. Yet this kind of story is not necessarily seen as controversial or morally reprehensive among the fans and tagged accordingly by the author. In ‘smut’ fictions, the pornographic aspect of the sexual encounter is at the centre of the story and the body matters more than moral values, which means that dark topics such as incest or rape may occur as well (cf. Tresca 39). Most fictions provide an unrealistic image of rape with regard to both the process of being abused and its aftermath. The victim’s physical and psychological damage is not always taken into consideration in these fictions, which often end with a depiction of the sexual climax of the dominant part. Especially shorter works of rape fan fiction fail to represent factors like social environment, economic and political conditions, education and race as conditions that may be linked to the motivation for rape and that influence who might be particularly likely to become a rape victim. Instead, the sexual assault is often generalised and disconnected from social reality in fan fictions. A substantial number of erotica fictions can be categorised as ‘slash fictions’, which describe the sexual relationship of characters of the same sex. One of the most popular pairings in Harry Potter fan fiction is that of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. This pairing may be accounted for by the fact that character pairings in erotica fan fictions are frequently “based on perceived hotness of the characters or on interactions between characters in the books” (Kroner 263). In the films, both Harry and Draco are portrayed by attractive actors, who have contributed to shaping the fans’ images of the fictional characters. Moreover, their rivalry adds an interesting friction to stories in which the two boys eventually fall in love with each other. Most slash fictions focus on male homosexual relationships, though heterosexual women appear to be the main readership of these works. Slash erotica fan fictions give women the opportunity of expressing their sexual desires without any sanctions, as fan fictions can be read online without another person (e.g. a partner) judging the reader’s sexual fantasies. This particular type of fan fiction provides women with the opportunity of writing/reading sex scenes without playing the submissive part of being penetrated. As Susanne Kroner explains: In popular romance, even in the modern ones where women occupy the same position as men, with regards to social standing, employment etc. – when it comes down to the sexual act, women’s role is still the submissive one, hers is the body that has to submit to penetration, which is the ultimate goal of sex scenes and love stories. When writing about two men, on the other hand, you can write them as versatile or one as a so-called pushy bottom. Submission here often is a conscious decision rather than a biological necessity (269). The genre of abuse and rape fiction takes this idea significantly further. It grants one character complete power over another character and thus invites the reader to engage in imaginary empowerment – or submission. The striking interest of female fans in (reading and writing) fan fictions depicting sexual violence in a manner that aims at giving pleasure to the reader suggests that rape fantasies, FRANZISKA GÖBEL 218 which are not accompanied by any desire to act out rape in real life, may be more common amongst women than one might perhaps assume. Fan fictions may provide an outlet for fantasies that are still associated with shame and considered to be a violation of moral principles. A study by Jenny Bivona and Joseph Critelli examined women’s rape fantasies in terms of frequency. This study indicated that 62% of women have had a rape fantasy, which is somewhat higher than previous estimates. For women who have had rape fantasies, the median frequency of these fantasies was about 4 times per year, with 14% of participants reporting that they had rape fantasies at least once a week (Bivona/Critelli 33). There are debates about the reasons for such sexual fantasies and their functions. On the one hand, rape fantasies may be seen as being indicative of women’s emancipation from social and sexual norms. On the other hand, rape fantasies may allow women to distance themselves from any responsibility for the action that gives them pleasure within the fantasy. Women who are insecure regarding their own sexuality “may then utilize a fantasy of being raped in order to trick the ‘little girl’ by saying, in effect, ‘I am being forced to submit; I can’t help it if I’m enjoying it’” (Kardener 55). III. Sexual violence in fantasy fiction A depiction of (sexual) violence is anything but unusual in fantasy fiction. It almost appears to have become a trope in (high) fantasy literature, which is generally drawn upon to emphasise male dominance. The depiction of sexual violence in the genre is usually accounted for by the genre’s tendency to draw upon medieval gender roles. In high fantasy, the setting as well as prevailing notions of sexuality, romance, the body and consent (or a lack thereof) appear to have been inspired by the European Middle Ages, which, apparently, makes representations of sexual violence more acceptable from the point of view of many readers/viewers. Still, the scene of Jaime Lannister raping his sister Cersei next to the corpse of their son in the TV series Game of Thrones (2011-), which is based on George R.R. Martin’s book series A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-), sparked a lively discussion amongst fans and especially feminists about ‘rape culture’ in fantasy. The rape scene in Game of Thrones seems to depart from those depictions of rape victims that have been widely accepted in fantasy fiction, i.e., scenes where the victims are saved by the hero and are eventually avenged. The scene from Game of Thrones portrays something that arguably goes beyond what tends to be accepted as Cersei is raped by her own brother, in familiar surroundings (cf. Ferreday 31). Due to widespread references to (pseudo-)medieval settings, rape in fantasy is sometimes seen as something that is ‘unreal’, i.e., as something that does not have to be translated into our society. Debra Ferreday explains in her article: The ‘obvious unrealness’ of the fantastic – that is, of fantasy as genre – is made to shut down discussion of the scene’s relation to off-screen rape culture: feminist readings are by implication conflated with the stereotypical image of both fan and feminist as having excessive negative attachments to texts, of ‘reading too much into’ what is obviously intended as entertainment. As in ‘real life’, rape becomes ‘that scene’: something which is at once dismissed as un-traumatic (‘there are worse problems’) and yet which cannot be named (32, original emphasis). High fantasy, which frequently creates quite vivid images of the fantastic world, of places, characters and their interactions in the reader’s mind, tends to focus on the emotions of the (male) protagonists, whereas female characters more often than not are silenced. The same is VIOLENCE, INCEST AND RAPE IN HARRY POTTER FAN FICTIONS 219 true for many rape victims in reality: rape tends to be downplayed by means of a rhetoric that describes the assault in euphemistic terms. The marginalisation of rape as a topic in public discourse and the widespread tolerance with respect to depictions of sexual violence in popular culture are indicative of a ‘rape culture’. Drawing on an article by Burnett et al. Ferreday argues: The silencing of women is intimately bound up in the lived, embodied and affective experience of women as mediated subjects in late capitalist culture. Women ‘have been muted in a multitude of ways, including the methods in which women tell stories, through male-controlled media, in ways women’s bodies are portrayed and analysed, and through censorship of women’s voices’ (26; cf. Burnett et al. 469). Fantasy fiction has the tools to break with stereotypes and criticise cultural constructs, and recent fantasy novels seem to use this potential more frequently. Fantasy fiction – and fantasy fan fiction – may have a liberating potential as far as gender roles are concerned. Most authors of fan fiction are women; fan fiction is not edited by others, and it can be published on websites that are primarily used and controlled by a female readership. Moreover, platforms make a dialogue among fan fiction writers possible and encourage readers to discuss and criticise certain works. Though Harry Potter is a kind of portal fantasy set in contemporary society, which means that many of the stereotypes concerning the depiction of sexual violence in traditional fantasy fiction do not apply, some elements of high fantasy have been incorporated in the story (most prominently the plot pattern of the heroic quest). Moreover, the complete lack of modern technology in the wizarding world evokes a pseudo-medieval setting. The parallels with high fantasy and its traditional focus on heroic deeds, combat and violence may thus be a first starting point for explaining in how far the characteristics of the series may encourage fan fiction focusing on sexual abuse. Although Rowling’s novels avoid explicit references to sexuality, sexual intercourse and rape play a quite prominent role in Harry Potter fan fiction. IV. Abusive elements and power structures in Harry Potter Beyond the general tendency of fan fiction to tell stories about sexuality and sexual violence, there are a number of more specific reasons why authors of Harry Potter fan fiction indulge in graphic descriptions of (at times violent) sexual activities. To a certain extent, the desire of fans of the Harry Potter series to write stories about romance and sex might be accounted for by the fact that the novels do not really address sexuality as a topic and are moreover dominated by a very traditional concept of love, in which love and sexuality are automatically connected to (heterosexual) marriages. While it was enough to dive into Rowling’s sexually innocent stories as a child reader, many – by now adult – readers might want to imagine the well-known protagonists in adult situations that the readership knows from their own lives or desires. Even though moral decisions and values constitute the core of Rowling’s novels, the stories also display some characteristics that arguably may provide further reasons why the Harry Potter series is so prone to giving rise to abuse fiction. A number of abusive elements and power structures can be identified in the original stories, and these may in turn facilitate imagining the characters as vulnerable and liable to exploitation and assault in fan fictions. The story famously begins with Harry being maltreated by the Dursleys, which seems to be tolerated by his environment. Later, in Hogwarts, the students’ lives are very much shaped by rivalry, formal and informal hierarchies as well as total submission to adult authorities. Despite the fact that Hogwarts is supposed to be a relatively safe environment (far away from FRANZISKA GÖBEL 220 abusive homes), the students (and in particular Harry) are repeatedly exposed to highly dangerous situations (cf. Collinsworth 8). Especially in the first volumes of the series, Harry and his friends repeatedly worry about the possibility of being expelled for breaking school rules. The fear of expulsion is a recurring theme, which is introduced already in the depiction of Harry’s second week at Hogwarts (cf. Stone 160). Harry’s fear of being expelled seems justified as various members of the teaching staff repeatedly threaten students with expulsion (cf. ibid. 157, Chamber 83). Witches and wizards who cannot complete their education can easily become outcasts in the wizarding society, which puts extreme pressure on the students to obey authorities. In other words, Hogwarts favours a very authoritarian education. From the point of view of modern principles of education, punishment in Hogwarts seems extremely controversial; it ranges from losing house points (which entails peer group pressure) to detention, during which students may be exposed to danger, which is apparently tolerated. A case in point is the detention during Harry’s first year, when the protagonist, Hermione, Neville and Draco have to accompany Hagrid into the Forbidden Forest. As Collinsworth explains in his paper “I Will Have Order”: “In fact, throughout the Harry Potter series, the inconsistency with which punishments are applied and with which awards are bestowed becomes a prominent theme. Harry and his friends may be rewarded for breaking rules at one point and then punished harshly for breaking them at another time” (8-9). This inconsistency of school authoritarianism is likely to increase students’ insecurities regarding their rights and safety at school and promotes submissive behaviour towards the teaching staff, which can easily be exploited.4 In addition, the use of Gothic elements in Harry Potter promotes a general atmosphere of fear and terror, which accompanies the entire story. The characters’ safety is increasingly endangered by the rise of Voldemort and his followers, whose actions are “dictated by cruelty, sadism, and the will to dominate” (Sanna n.p.). Interestingly, Voldemort, though portrayed as the seemingly untouchable antagonist and Gothic villain, potentially introduces a type of persecution and abuse that may be read as having sexual overtones. Right from the start, Harry becomes Voldemort’s ultimate object of desire, though the villain at first cannot bear to touch the boy. When he finally has become able to lay his hands on Harry in Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire (2000), Voldemort increasingly starts to penetrate into Harry’s mind, thus taking possession of the boy on a very intimate level. Harry’s reaction to the intrusion is reminiscent of that of a rape victim: he experiences extreme physical pain during the process, feels dirty afterwards and isolates himself from his friends (cf. Sanna n.p.). During the war in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007), patterns of abuse and oppression become even more prominent. Both parties experience constant danger, which, for some characters at least, also entails the suppression of emotions. In fan fictions, a number of these characters find relief in the act of psychologically, physically or sexually abusing their opponents and seeking to compensate for psychological pressure by means of achieving sexual satisfaction, regardless of the other character’s consent. Moreover, fan fictions show rape that is strategically used as an instrument of punishment and humiliation during the Wizarding War, thus addressing a link between war and sexual violence that is also relevant to war experience in reality. The later novels of the series increasingly elaborate on the interaction of and collaboration between the generations, i.e., Harry’s generation and the one of his parents, thus creating some emotionally charged character constellations that fan fictions often pick up. If characters 4 Professor Umbridge, for example, abuses her power over her students and uses physical pain and injuries as punishments. Although her abuse of power is criticised by Harry’s friends, neither he nor any other student reports this abuse because they are afraid, feel obliged to refuse giving in to her, or, even worse, come to believe they deserve pain as a punishment. VIOLENCE, INCEST AND RAPE IN HARRY POTTER FAN FICTIONS 221 are primarily paired according to their attractiveness in fan fictions, moral values are easily disregarded, which establishes the basis for abusive sexual relationships. No matter whether the sexual act is consensual or not, power structures will never be balanced in a relationship involving a middle-aged adult and a child or teenager. The younger character is bound to be inferior to the adult and is thus vulnerable to manipulation and sexual exploitation. What defines the Harry Potter series more than anything else is the use of magic. According to fan fictions, magic also influences witches’ and wizards’ sex life. Given the fact that there is no depiction of sexual acts in Rowling’s novels, fans feel entitled to be extremely creative as far as the impact of magic on sexual practices is concerned. Magic may make sex more romantic and interesting for witches and wizards, because it enables them to overcome obstacles that may render sex in the Muggle world complicated. Contraception and cleaning routines, which tend to preoccupy many Muggles, are taken care of by means of a quick wave of the wand or a sip from a potion (cf. Kroner 271). Magic makes the ‘logistics of sex’ much easier for witches and wizards, but it can also be used by the ‘Dark Side’ of fan fiction to make abuse and rape easier. Victims of sexual violence can be shut up, tied up or paralysed effortlessly with a spell, or even be forced to act against their will by means of the Imperius Curse. Magic even enables the agent of abuse to make the victim forget about the assault. Thus, the victim may feel pain or shame without remembering the reason for these emotions. Moreover, rape may occur repeatedly, because the victim is not able to accuse the culprit of the deed or even avoid him/her. Furthermore, magic allows injuries to heal more quickly. While this is shown to be an advantage in the novels, fan fictions may use this feature of the wizarding world in depictions of abuse: “You can hurt someone more, you can heal them more quickly so you can inflict more pain in a shorter time period” (ibid. 267). The examples discussed so far presumably do not really explain why Harry Potter abuse and rape fiction exists, but at least they demonstrate why writing about the ‘Dark Side’ while maintaining the features of the original story and the wizarding world to a large extent is comparatively easy for authors of fan fiction. V. The relevance of ethically responsible tagging Tags used on online platforms hosting fan fictions to label stories are crucial for guiding readers to the material they are interested in, but the markers are often hardly adequate. While ‘erotica’ or ‘romance’ generally denote love stories, which often result in sex though their focus is on the development of the romance, ‘smut’ refers to fiction that privileges sex scenes, which are often not embedded in a complex plot and which tend to be graphic. In this type of fan fiction, the pornographic dimension is prevalent (cf. Tresca 37). ‘Hurt/Comfort’ narratives tell a story in which one of the main characters goes through some kind of traumatic experience (i.e., hurt), which often includes emotional abuse, torture or rape, while the other character offers comfort and helps the victim to recover. The ‘comfort’ usually comes along with romance and/or sex. Hurt/comfort stories thus constitute a category in which some kind of abuse is referred to, though it is usually not the main point of the story. Instead, the history of abuse serves as a device that helps the two protagonists to fall in love. Though the terms that are used to designate the different types of stories may vary, erotica or smut fictions in which sexual violence is a major component of the plot are commonly referred to as ‘dub-con’ (short for dubious consent) or, even more frequently, as ‘non-con’ (short for non-consensual). The use of such euphemisms conceals the nature of what is described in this type of fan fiction. In reality, calling rape ‘non-consensual sex’ is regarded as harmful since this label ignores both the violence that is involved and the damage done to the victim. In her New York Times article “There Is No Such Thing as ‘Nonconsensual Sex.’ It’s FRANZISKA GÖBEL 222 Violence”, which focuses primarily on sexual violence on American university campuses and describes how language is regularly used to downplay or even justify felonies, Kelly Oliver explains the pitfalls of the term ‘non-consensual sex’ as follows: “While sex is considered an activity, until recently, it commonly referred to an activity shared between people, as in the familiar phrase, ‘having sex’. Implicit in the concept of sex is consent. Without consent, sexual activity becomes rape” (n.p.). Still, in fan fiction euphemisms that identify stories about rape are widespread. ‘Non-con’ becomes an umbrella term for any form of sexual assault referred to in fan fictions that does not necessarily describe rape, but often does. Moreover, the actions that are described in so-called ‘non-con’ stories often have little in common with a realistic portrayal of the experience of violence and rape. Sexual violence is frequently presented as an aestheticised and eroticised event, which is supposed to provide the reader with sexual stimulation and pleasure. Yet, readers may of course feel disturbed by the graphic portrayal of sexual violence. This kind of story may prove particularly harmful for a younger readership, whose concept of (healthy) sexual activities may be affected by eroticised depictions of rape. Thus, it is necessary to use appropriate terms for labelling the content presented in fan fiction. Generic labels prove to be extremely vague on the majority of fan fiction platforms, such as fanfiction.net. Even though most platforms allow users to choose age ratings, hardly any platform hosts a category that indicates rape or abuse, and trigger warnings usually only show up in the author’s description – if there are any at all. This can be extremely confusing and provide a false impression of the fictions. The platform Archive of Our Own, by contrast, provides the category ‘non-con/rape’. What caused them to include the term ‘rape’ in a tag when nobody else does? In a personal correspondence, they explained that the concern was that ‘Non-Con’ could suggest that it only applied to kink, but the label was meant for non-kink uses. The Content Policy team in general prefers that the mandatory warnings be as clear as possible to make enforcement of the Terms of Service easier (AO3 support, personal communication, Feb 17, 2017). Moreover, the team sent me a paper of a case study about Archive of Our Own by Fiesler, Morrison and Bruckman that describes why the platform was founded as well as how it is still run today. Due to the impression that earlier, often commercially run archives, such as FanLib, were unable to satisfy the user’s needs and disregarded their values, “some members of the community voiced a desire to avoid both dependence on the online communities they had been using and potential exploitation by new ones. The result was an initiative to create a space to share work that they would have control over: an archive of their own” (Fiesler et al. n.p.). What sets this archive of fan fictions apart from others is the fact that it has been “designed, coded and maintained nearly entirely by the community it serves – a community made up mostly of women” (ibid.). Archive of Our Own sets an example as a platform that responds to the writers’ desires and tries to present a clear image of the stories’ contents by providing more precise categories as well as trigger warnings, which enables authors to publish their works in a more responsible manner. VI. Conclusion Abuse fan fictions clearly cross boundaries by addressing topics that are morally reprehensive, including child abuse, incest and general exploitation of power structures – issues that are usually not talked about openly in a fandom or beyond. Writers and readers of fan fictions may of course have very different motivations for writing or reading fan fictions that deal with topics such as incest, illicit sexual relations with minors (whether consensual or not), VIOLENCE, INCEST AND RAPE IN HARRY POTTER FAN FICTIONS 223 perversions (like necrophilia), incest or depictions of extreme sexual violence and rape. People may try to deal with a trauma through fan fictions, play out a kink or they may want to imagine experiencing the power they lack in their real (sex) lives. At any rate, readers of fan fictions, especially young ones, should be made aware of controversial content and of the gap between fictional scenarios and real-life abuse. Given the fact that abuse fictions are easily accessible on the internet and specific platforms, which mostly do not provide sufficient categories or trigger warnings, there is often no protection for a younger readership, who is looking for stories about beloved literary characters, or for people who might be triggered by the abuse described in these stories. Although I am aware of the fact that fan fictions with controversial content may help to address issues such as child abuse, incest or the general abuse of power structures, they may also contribute to establishing a culture in which depictions of rape and sexual violence are increasingly seen as being part of the entertainment offered by popular culture. Thus, the aestheticisation and eroticisation of rape in fan fictions is highly problematic, because it may serve to glorify sexual violence, especially when the latter is presented without any context or explanation. Still, if trigger warnings and adequate descriptions are provided for works featuring controversial content, readers can more easily decide whether they want to read or avoid a certain text. This process is supported by fan fiction platforms and archives which provide precise generic categories and trigger warnings. The way we perceive, depict and talk about rape is indeed a collective problem of our society. In this context, fan fiction, being an unfiltered online medium, gives non-professional writers the opportunity to create, share and discuss works that address a wide range of implications of sexual violence. Appropriate terms, however, are necessary for labelling those works in order to protect readers and allow the individual reader to choose what he/she wants to be confronted with. Works Cited Archive of Our Own Support. “Re: [AO3] Support – Statement for Academic Research: Categorisations and Protection of Readership.” Received by Franziska Göbel, 17 February 2017. Bivona, Jenny M., and Joseph W. Critelli. Women’s Erotic Rape Fantasies. University of North Texas, 2008. Borah, Rebecca Sutherland. “Apprentice Wizards Welcome: Fan Communities and the Culture of Harry Potter.” The Ivory Tower and Harry Potter: Perspectives on a Literary Phenomenon, edited by Lana A. Whited, University of Missouri Press, 2002. 343-64. Burnett, Ann, Jody L. Mattern, Liliana L. Herakova, David H. Kahl Jr., Cloy Tobola, and Susan E. Bornsen. “Communicating/Muting Date Rape: A Co-Cultural Theoretical Analysis of Communication Factors Related to Rape Culture on a College Campus.” Journal of Applied Communication Research 37.4 (2009): 465-85. Collinsworth, Kelly E. “‘I Will Have Order’: A Potterish Examination of Authoritarian School Disciplinary Trends and Reactions.” From Here to Hogwarts: Essays on Harry Potter Fandom and Fiction, edited by Christopher E. Bell, McFarland, 2015. 7-27. Ferreday, Debra. “Game of Thrones, Rape Culture and Feminist Fandom.” Australian Feminist Studies 30.83 (2015): 21-36. FRANZISKA GÖBEL 224 Fiesler, Casey, Shannon Morrison, and Amy S. Bruckman. “An Archive of Their Own: A Case Study of Feminist HCI and Values in Design.” ACM, Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, San Jose, CA, 07-12 May 2016. hahaharrypulp. “The Sorting Hat’s Love.” Last access: 28 July 2017. . Kardener, Sheldon H. “Rape Fantasies.” Journal of Religion and Health 14.1 (1975): 50-57. Kroner, Susanne. “Romance, Incest, Rape, and Torture: The Sexual Awakening of the Harry Potter Fandom.” Inklings: Jahrbuch für Literatur und Ästhetik 31 (2013): 260-75. LalaithElerrina. “The Teletubbies’ Adventure in Lothlorien.” Last access: 28 July 2017. Nostrademons. “*squick* Squickfic.” Last access: 04 February 2017. Oliver, Kelly. “There Is No Such Thing as ‘Nonconsensual Sex.’ It’s Violence.” The New York Times, 21 November 2016. Last access: 20 July 2017. Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bloomsbury, 2014 [1997]. ---. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Bloomsbury, 2014 [1998]. Sanna, Antonio. “‘I Can Touch Him Now’: Harry Potter as a Gothic Narrative of Trauma and Homoerotic Sexual Abuse.” [sic]: Casopis za Knjizevnost, Kulturu i Knjizevno Prevodenje/A Journal of Literature, Culture and Literary Translation (sicJ) 1.5 (2014). Last access: 28 July 2017. Tresca, Don. “Spellbound: An Analysis of Adult-Oriented Harry Potter Fanfiction.” Fan CULTure: Essays on Participatory Fandom in the 21st Century, edited by Kristen M. Barton and Jonathan Malcolm Lampley, McFarland, 2013. 36-46. Marion Gymnich, Denise Burkhard and Hanne Birk The Ever-Expanding Potterverse: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Pottermore I. Introduction Ten years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and six years after the release of the last instalment of the Harry Potter film series, the Potterverse is (still) extremely dynamic. It keeps being revisited, expanded, and at least partially reinterpreted by different agents, who are endowed with varying degrees of authority, including fans, scholars, people who work for the franchise in different capacities, and, of course, J.K. Rowling herself. The year 2016 was a significant one for the Potterverse: the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child premiered and the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released. While the play is clearly a sequel of the Harry Potter saga, the movie, though situated in the same universe, takes the viewers to a different continent and time and introduces new protagonists; moreover, it is the starting point of a film series in its own right. Given these developments, the Potterverse so far has not turned into what Rebecca Williams in her study Post-Object Fandom refers to as a ‘dormant text’. Instead, it is ‘wide awake’ and diversifying, which also means that characters that may have rather occupied the periphery of the Potterverse are now allowed to enter centre stage. As Cassie Brummitt observes, both the stage play and the movie “demonstrate a willingness on the part of Potter creatives to depart from dominant narratives and iconographies” (113). Can one conclude that the Potterverse is currently at a crossroads? Perhaps also with respect to the target audience? In the following, we will have a closer look at the play and the movie in order to examine in what ways they are a recognisable part of the Potterverse as developed in Rowling’s seven novels and in how far they depart from some of the well-known templates. We will also discuss the functions of Pottermore in the ongoing development of the Potterverse. Since its launch in 2011, the online platform has gone through major changes and has contributed to the expansion of the wizarding world. II. The sequel: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child The stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is the outcome of a collaboration between J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne and which premiered in London on 30 July 2016, has been widely marketed as ‘the eighth volume’ of the series. In 2017, the play became the first production to win nine Olivier Awards in the history of the most prestigious British theatre award.1 At first sight, the play indeed appears to be a quite straightforward sequel of the Harry Potter series, since it starts exactly where the seventh novel ended, i.e., 1 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child won the Olivier Awards for Best New Play, Best Director (John Tiffany), Best Actor (Jamie Parker), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Noma Dumezweni), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Anthony Boyle), Best Set Design, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Design and Best Lighting Design. MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 226 with Harry, Ginny, Hermione and Ron accompanying their children to King’s Cross Station, 19 years after Voldemort was defeated in the Battle of Hogwarts. Even elements of the dialogue in the first scene have been taken over directly from the last pages of the novel. The Potters’ younger son Albus Severus is about to embark on his very first journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. By offering this starting point, which incorporates some of the most iconic settings of the series (King’s Cross, its somewhat elusive Platform 9¾, the Hogwarts Express) and some well-known characters, the play may trigger a certain amount of nostalgia among readers/spectators. 2 The beginning of the play is likely to make readers/spectators expect more Hogwarts-based adventures, which perhaps even draw again upon the pattern of the boarding-school novel, which has very much shaped volumes 1-6 of the original series. The first scenes of the play might also suggest that the readers/spectators will have to say farewell to the trio Harry, Ron and Hermione immediately after having finally ‘met’ them once more after a hiatus of several years (though not quite 19). Yet, expectations like these are only partially fulfilled in the course of the play, which departs from the patterns established in the series in some respects, as the readers/spectators are soon to find out. The sequel undermines the narrator’s optimistic final remarks in the novel: “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well” (Hallows 607). 19 years after Voldemort’s defeat the situation in the wizarding world is not good. There is again evil that needs to be fought, and Harry’s scar is about to start causing him pain once more. Even Hogwarts is not quite the same in this new instalment of the Harry Potter saga. While Ron’s characterisation of Hogwarts – “‘Big. Wonderful. Full of food. I’d give anything to be going back’” (Child 11) – presumably captures what many fans may be feeling; Albus Potter’s attitude towards Hogwarts turns out to be much less positive than his father’s, which means that the famous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry soon appears in a different light. In the scene set on the Hogwarts Express (Act One, Scene Three, Child 13-18) there are a number of features that are reminiscent of Harry’s journeys to school, including the trolley witch, who is still selling Chocolate Frogs and other sweets. Yet something is amiss from the start; Rose Granger-Weasley, the daughter of Hermione and Ron, who is Albus’s age, is a bit too selective with respect to her company, reminding her cousin Albus to choose his friends very carefully; after all, as she puts it, “‘[m]y mum and dad met your dad on their first Hogwarts Express you know…’” (ibid. 13). While Hermione was certainly ambitious when she was Rose’s age, the elitist attitude displayed by her daughter is not reminiscent of her mother’s notion of friendship. Instead, readers/spectators might be reminded of Harry’s first meeting with Draco Malfoy at Madam Malkin’s, when Draco makes it quite clear that he aims at steering clear of the ‘wrong sort’ of wizards and witches (cf. Stone 89). In the further course of the play, the readers/spectators do not really find out what friends Rose makes. For most of the play, she very much fades into the background (for various reasons, which will be discussed below). Albus, by contrast, just like his father, finds a true friend on his first journey to Hogwarts, with whom he, just like Harry, initially bonds by sharing sweets. The boy whom Albus befriends is none other than Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius, who, to make things worse, is rumoured to be Voldemort’s son. Rose is not the only one to frown upon this friendship; when Harry eventually finds out about it, he is anything but happy and even tries to prevent the boys from being friends in a very authoritarian fashion. Many familiar names, the destination Hogwarts and a quite controversial new friendship – this might still be the beginning of a story that is very similar to the original series. Soon, 2 If nostalgia, as Michael Pickering and Emily Keightley assume, can be associated with “[t]he experience of loss [that] is endemic to living in modernity” (920) one could argue that sequels of book, TV or film series cater to a nostalgia that is driven by a feeling of loss on a somewhat smaller scale, which is inherent in ‘post-object fandom’ (cf. Williams). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 227 however, it becomes apparent that the play is not Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone all over again. The stage play continues to revisit familiar features of the novels – such as the Sorting Ceremony, various subjects taught at Hogwarts (e.g., a flying lesson and a Potions class) – but there is a crucial difference in terms of the narrative pace. Three years at Hogwarts are compressed into a few minutes/pages in the very short transition scene (Act One, Scene Four, Child 19-29), which just briefly touches upon some of the familiar routines of life at Hogwarts. Twice “[w]e’re back on platform nine and three-quarters and time has ticked on mercilessly” (ibid. 22, original emphasis), as the stage directions indicate. The rapid pace allows references to the traditional boarding-school narrative, but simultaneously signals that the ‘eighth volume’ has moved beyond this pattern, has ‘grown up’, despite focusing on two young protagonists once more. The fact that school routines play a very minor role in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child also means that the ‘eighth volume’ of the saga departs to a certain extent from the mixture of “the heroic and the everyday”, which Maria Nikolajeva (225) deems characteristic of the original series. What transpires very soon in this fastforward version of life at Hogwarts is that Albus Potter is very different from his father in some respects. Albus appears to be bad at all of the subjects taught at Hogwarts and has inherited neither Harry’s talent for flying nor his enthusiasm for Quidditch. The most striking contrast between father and son, however, is certainly established by the fact that he is sorted into Slytherin, which provokes scathing comments by fellow students, who compare “‘Albus Potter, the Slytherin Squib’” (Child 22), as one of them puts it, to his famous father, the celebrity. 3 Admittedly, Harry also experienced periods when he was ostracised by other students during his years at the boarding school; still, first and foremost, Hogwarts meant ‘home’ for the orphaned boy.4 This is completely different for his son, who hates being in a place where he feels like an incompetent outsider. On the whole, the famous school is thus shown in a much bleaker light than in the original series, projecting images which are likely to differ quite radically from those that fans presumably have formed of this place over the years. Only rarely is a more positive impression of Hogwarts expressed. In Act Two, Scene Six, Albus and Scorpius see the castle from the edge of the Forbidden Forest. The stage directions (“And revealed through the trees is HOG- WARTS – a splendid mass of bulbous buildings and towers.”, Child 112, original emphasis) as well as the comments by Albus (“‘Hogwarts. Never seen this view of it before.’” , ibid.) and in particular Scorpius (“‘Still get a tingle, don’t you? When you see it?’” , ibid.) evoke something of the old fascination with the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – and may perhaps remind readers of the feeling of eager anticipation that used to be associated with the first sighting of the castle in the early novels and movies. The return to a more positive view of Hogwarts is reinforced when Scorpius elaborates on his attitude towards the school, which differs significantly from that put forward by Albus: SCORPIUS: From the moment I first heard of it, I was desperate to go. I mean, Dad didn’t much like it there but even the way he described it… From the age of ten I’d check the Daily Prophet first thing every morning – certain some sort of tragedy would have befallen it – certain I wouldn’t get to go. ALBUS: And then you got there and it turned out to be terrible after all. SCORPIUS: Not for me. ALBUS looks at his friend, shocked. 3 According to the Sorting Hat, Slytherin might have suited Harry as well, but the 11-year-old boy was adamant in his dislike of the house associated with evil wizards, which led to him being sorted into Gryffindor. 4 The notion that Hogwarts is much more than a school is stressed time and again throughout the series, as the following passage exemplifies: “Hogwarts was the first and best home he [Harry] had known. He and Voldemort and Snape, the abandoned boys, had all found home here…” (Hallows 558). MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 228 All I ever wanted to do was go to Hogwarts and have a mate to get up to mayhem with. Just like Harry Potter. And I got his son. How crazily fortunate is that (ibid. 112-13, original emphasis). Scorpius’s comments may perhaps reconcile fans who may have been disappointed with the bleaker image of Hogwarts. In one of the last scenes (Act Four, Scene Fourteen), when Albus and Scorpius have helped to defeat evil, both appear to feel much more at home in their school. In other words, the myth of Hogwarts being a wonderful and exciting place that provides a real home, which works particularly well for maltreated orphans like Harry Potter, is challenged but not undermined completely. After the very brief summary of the first three years in the transition scene, the play approaches its core, i.e., Albus’s and Scorpius’s attempts to change the past in order to prevent the death of Cedric Diggory in the Triwizard Tournament. By means of a Time-Turner they have stolen from the Ministry of Magic the two boys travel back to Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts three separate times and interfere with each of the tasks of the Tournament in order to make Cedric lose, which could save his life. This plot element invites the readers/spectators to remember key moments from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000).5 The time travel trope allows the play to revisit well-known scenes and to show characters who died in the original series, including Cedric. Here, it already becomes evident that what promised to be a sequel does not really break free from the original series in some respects. The tendency to return to material already presented in the novels, albeit from a different angle, is even more pronounced at the end of the play, when Albus and Scorpius travel back even further in time and witness Voldemort’s attack on James and Lily Potter and baby Harry in Godric’s Hollow in 1981. In terms of its time structure, the play thus keeps revisiting defining moments in the chronology of the original series; a narrative strategy that may have the side effect of endowing the fictional world with additional depth due to the interweaving of plot lines. As the play is approaching its end, it returns to the founding moment of the series, when the myth of ‘the boy who lived’ came into existence. The scenes set in Godric’s Hollow in 1981 arguably constitute the climax of the play and are emotionally intense. These are followed by two short scenes set in the present, which show a happier Albus as well as a decidedly improved fatherson relationship, thus reiterating the happy ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is clearly situated in the tradition of time travel stories in terms of some of the questions the play raises. As in many other time travel narratives, the attempts to change one particular feature of the past are shown to have far-reaching, disastrous consequences. The actions of the two boys bring about alternative timelines, which get progressively worse.6 Although devices that allow characters to travel through time are presumably more common in science fiction than in fantasy, time travel as such is not new to the 5 According to Michael K. Johnson, “much of the pleasure of such narratives [i.e., time travel narratives] comes from recognizing the interplay between the original and the adaptation, the story of the past as it is originally told and the retelling of that story from a different perspective during the time-travel sequence” (210). What is special about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is that the comparison between the original and the retelling exceeds the text at hand, falling back on knowledge of the original series, in particular Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. 6 While one of the founding texts of modern time travel literature, H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine (1895), does not introduce the notion of a ‘butterfly’ or ‘ripple’ effect caused by time travel, the most recent audio-visual adaptation of Wells’s novel from 2002 adds this idea to the story. This serves to show that the possibility of changing the present for the worse by travelling back in time has become one of the stock features of time travel narratives. Examples include the movie Back to the Future (1985) and various Star Trek episodes, some of which suggest that “it might be necessary to ‘clean up the timeline’ from previous ‘incursions’” (Barrett/Barrett 129). ‘Cleaning up the timeline’ is exactly what Scorpius ultimately has to do, with some help by others. THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 229 Potterverse. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), a Time-Turner plays a crucial role in helping Harry and Hermione save the day, making it possible for Sirius Black and the Hippogriff Buckbeak to escape from utmost danger. In a similar manner, the Time- Turner confiscated by the Ministry of Magic and stolen by Albus and Scorpius allows them to save Cedric Diggory’s life. To anyone familiar with time travel narratives it comes as no particular surprise that the actions of the two time travellers cause several alternative timelines or ‘what if’-scenarios to unfold in the course of the play. Alternative timelines may be associated with time travelling, but they do not have to be. Authors may also choose historical events as starting points for ‘what if’-scenarios. Cases in point include Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle (1962) and Robert Harris’s Fatherland (1992), which start from the assumption that the Nazis won World War II. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child does something quite similar by introducing an alternative timeline in which Harry has not survived, whereas Voldemort has won and has established a fascist regime. As Scorpius finds out when he ends up in this timeline, ‘Mudbloods’ are tortured in the Hogwarts dungeons (cf. Child 182) or sent to “‘[t]he “Mudblood” death camps’” (ibid. 184). The allusions to fascist Third Reich politics and practices, which can already be found in the original series,7 could hardly be more obvious (complete with a fascist greeting consisting of putting one’s hand to one’s heart before bringing one’s wrists together, cf. ibid. 180). A sinister atmosphere pervades the scenes set in this timeline, which is on a par with the tone of the later volumes of Rowling’s series, most of all Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In this dark alternative timeline, neither Albus nor Rose have been born, while Ron and Hermione, who are not a couple in this version of reality, are virtually the last remaining members of an underground resistance movement. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child the ‘what if’-scenarios also make it possible to bring back characters who are already dead in a way that goes beyond the series’ convention of the talking portrait of a deceased person.8 When Scorpius attempts to restore the original timeline (without the help of Albus, who has not been born in the timeline in which Voldemort has won), he has to fall back on the help of Snape, Hermione and Ron. Once Delphi, who pretends to be Amos Diggory’s niece but turns out to be Voldemort’s daughter, finds out that the ‘dark alternative’ could be brought about, she does everything to make this version of events come true. At this point, it is also revealed that her plan was triggered by a prophecy predicting Voldemort’s return (cf. ibid. 247). The fact that it is once more a prophecy that propels the plot onward of course also creates an important link with the original series. Although the play foregrounds the friendship between Albus and Scorpius, time and again the protagonists from the original series take centre stage, most often Harry. There are for instance three dream sequences (Act One, Scene Eight; Act Two, Scene One; Act Three, Scene Twelve) which explore his traumatic memories and simultaneously serve to revisit further scenes from the original series.9 Moreover, these scenes provide a link to the novels due to the fact that Harry used to be the main internal focalizer throughout the book series, which means that fans have become used to perceiving the wizarding world from his point of view. The first dream/memory sequence takes the readers/spectators back to the moment when Hagrid appeared in the hut where the Dursleys hoped to escape from the Hogwarts letters (cf. ibid. 45-48). The second sequence returns to Privet Drive and the iconic Cupboard under the Stairs in order to elaborate on the cruel maltreatment Harry suffered in the first 7 Cf. the article by Carsten Kullmann in this volume. 8 The device of the talking portrait is picked up in order to bring back the character of Albus Dumbledore (cf. Child 273-76). 9 For a discussion of the ways in which Harry Potter and the Cursed Child explores Harry’s trauma, cf. the contribution by Anne Mahler in this volume. MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 230 years of his life (cf. ibid. 97-99). The final dream sequence, however, introduces a scenario that is not based on a memory of an actual event. Harry dreams about visiting his parents’ grave in Godric’s Hollow with Aunt Petunia, although he did not get to see this place until he was 17, as the readers are told in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Still, the dream condenses various aspects of Harry’s life that have shaped his personality: the loss of his parents, the Dursleys’ lies about Lily and James Potter’s identity and the danger embodied by Voldemort. The exploration of dreams and memories is nothing new in the Potterverse; in the novels, dreams and, more specifically, Harry’s dreams play a very prominent role almost from the start. They highlight Harry’s special link with Voldemort and serve to explore Harry’s identity. Memories are presented most vividly in the Pensieve, which makes it possible to see someone else’s memories by ‘diving into’ the past. All of the dream sequences in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child end with Voldemort’s voice being heard calling Harry’s name, which suggests that the connection between Harry and his archenemy has not been destroyed completely after all. In the third dream sequence, Voldemort cannot only be heard but he actually appears physically, as the stage directions indicate: “VOLDEMORT’s hand rises into the air above the Potters’ gravestone, the rest of him rises after. We don’t see his face but his body provides a jagged, horrific shape” (ibid. 221, original emphasis). Thus, the dreams get more intense and threatening in the course of the play, recalling the many harrowing moments in the original series when Harry had a vision of Voldemort due to the special link between the hero and his nemesis. In addition to the representation of dreams, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child also continues a further strategy that was already established in the novels: features that were introduced into the Potterverse at some point are revisited at a later moment (often only in a later volume of the series), when they are made more complex by disclosing additional information. A case in point is Harry’s Invisibility Cloak, which is introduced in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone simply as a very convenient magical device for moving through Hogwarts without being seen that Harry inherits from his father, yet (much) later turns out to be one of the Deathly Hallows, i.e., a legendary magical artefact with a long history. This strategy of revisiting features of the wizarding world gradually adds more and more layers of meaning and depth to the Potterverse and renders the process of rereading earlier volumes more rewarding. In the light of new information the earlier text is enriched; additional semantic layers become apparent to the fan reader and lend the series a high degree of coherence.10 A feature from the original series that is revisited in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the manner described above is the trolley witch, who already appears in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, selling a range of magical sweets to Harry, who at this point has just been initiated into the wizarding world. The focus is clearly on the sweets and not on the witch selling these in the first volume. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, however, readers/spectators find out that the trolley witch might actually be even more interesting than her Cauldron Cakes and Chocolate Frogs. In Act One, Scene Eleven, Albus and Scorpius escape from the Hogwarts Express and find out that the trolley witch is a major, entirely unexpected obstacle for them. She follows the two boys onto the roof (even bringing her trolley along) and tries to prevent them from jumping off the train. In the process, her “hands transfigure into very sharp spikes” (ibid. 60, original emphasis) and she demonstrates that her pumpkin pasties can be used as hand grenades. The scene serves to show that the woman who 10 In a somewhat similar vein, Nikolajeva claims with regard to the last volume of the original series: “In the final volume, all loose ends are tied together. In fact, it is astounding how many tiny details from the previous volumes turn up and prove highly significant.” (237) THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 231 appeared to be quite ordinary beforehand actually possesses considerable magical abilities. When she tells Albus and Scorpius that everyone who tried to escape from the train in the past was stopped by her, this also serves as an occasion to remind the readers/spectators in passing of further well-known characters from the original series: ‘Never. Never. Have I let anyone off this train before they reached their destination. Some have tried – Sirius Black and his cronies, Fred and George Weasley. ALL HAVE FAILED. BECAUSE THIS TRAIN – IT DOESN’T LIKE PEOPLE GETTING OFF IT …’ (ibid., original emphasis).11 After having had a glimpse of this uncanny side of the trolley witch, one is likely to see this apparently unassuming minor character in a different light when rereading one of the earlier volumes. Some of the more unusual features of the play could arguably be read as a reaction to criticism and/or fan interests. The depiction of the opposition between Gryffindor and Slytherin has been completely overhauled in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The representation of the two houses as being essentially the embodiment of good and evil, which pervades the series, may strike readers as being too simplistic and fostering stereotypes. Even the fact that Severus Snape (Head of Slytherin House) ultimately turns out to be a good, heroic character has not done much to change the overall bad reputation of Slytherins within the novels. There seem to be many fans, however, who wish to see a more balanced approach to the representation of the houses, as for instance fan fiction and the popularity of Slytherin-themed merchandise indicate. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, both Albus and Scorpius, i.e., the two – very likeable – protagonists are sorted into Slytherin. Thus, the readers/spectators are confronted with a different perspective, and from this point of view Gryffindor students do not fare all that well. They are reduced to being minor characters (including Rose Granger- Weasley, whom one might expect to be one of the protagonists at first) and they do not come across as being very friendly, either; instead, they tend to be quite arrogant. In one of the alternative timelines brought about by time travelling, Albus has been sorted into Gryffindor, but this does not really make things any better for him. This glimpse of an alternative reality stresses that Albus is not simply unhappy because he has been sorted into the ‘wrong’ house. In other words, it is not Slytherin that is the problem. The reinterpretation of Slytherin is also apparent in the depiction of Draco Malfoy, who has undergone a major process of reinterpretation, which is reminiscent of some of the approaches often adopted in fan fiction, in particular those Henry Jenkins subsumes under the labels ‘emotional intensification’ and ‘moral realignment’.12 In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Draco is reimagined as a character with previously unexplored emotional depth, who envied the friendship Harry, Ron and Hermione shared and felt lonely, which he admits in a conversation with Harry and Ginny: 11 A number of characters from the original series who do not appear on the stage are referred to in dialogues in the course of the play (e.g. when Hermione says: “‘I will not be Cornelius Fudge on this one’” ; Child 73). This strategy emphasises the function of the play as a tribute to the original series. 12 Jenkins defines the strategy of moral realignment as follows: “Perhaps the most extreme form of refocalization, some fan stories invert or question the moral universe of the primary text, taking the villains and transforming them into the protagonists of their own narratives. Characters like Servalan, Paracelsus, the Master, Darth Vader, and the Sheriff of Nottingham are such compelling figures that fans want to explore what the fictional world might look like from their vantage point; such tales blur the original narrative’s more rigid boundaries between good and evil.” (168) MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 232 ‘You – the three of you – you shone you know? You liked each other. You had fun. I envied you those friendships more than anything else. […] And being alone – that’s so hard. I was alone. And it sent me to a truly dark place’ (ibid. 147). The depiction of Draco Malfoy in the play draws upon redemption narratives, which are not only popular plotlines for villains in fan fiction, but also well beyond that.13 In addition to stressing the loneliness Draco felt as a child and adolescent, the play suggests that Draco has been turned into a kinder, better person by love. He tells his son: “‘You know what I loved most about your mother? She could always help me find light in the darkness. She made the world – my world anyway – less – what was the word you used – “murky”.’” (ibid. 186). The notion of the villain reformed by love is another idea that is frequently drawn upon in fan fiction and, more generally, in romance plots in popular culture. While Draco’s change of heart may come as a surprise, hints at Draco being less callous and thus less firmly aligned with evil than one may have thought initially can already be found in the last volume of the original series. When Harry, Hermione and Ron are captives inside Malfoy Manor, for instance, Draco is extremely reluctant to identify his schoolmates and thus condemn at least Harry to being killed by Voldemort (cf. Hallows 372). Unlike Rowling’s novels, the play does not introduce many new and spectacular settings and primarily revisits familiar ones instead. The home of the Potter family is a new setting, but it is hardly fleshed out. There is, however, at least one new place that is worth mentioning, namely St Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards. Introducing an institution that takes care of elderly members of the wizarding community continues a tradition of the Harry Potter series, i.e., the translation of facets of the Muggle world into wizarding counterparts. There are professional sports teams and world cups, a Ministry of Magic with many different departments, and there is St Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Similar to these institutions, St Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards supports the underlying realism inherent in the series’ world building, which suggests that the wizarding community is indeed a complete, fully functioning society. The addition is also a significant one in the light of current debates about the consequences of an ‘ageing society’. The stage directions suggest that the institution is a quite agreeable place: This is chaos. This is magic. This is St Oswald’s Home for Old Witches and Wizards and it is as wonderful as you might hope. Zimmer frames are conjured into life, knitting wool is enchanted into chaos, and male nurses are made to dance the tango. These are people relieved of the burden of having to do magic for a reason – instead, these witches and wizards do magic for fun. And what fun they have (Child 66, original emphasis). Although the stage directions emphasise the ‘fun’, one cannot help but wonder whether the chaos might also be an indication of elderly wizards and witches suffering from disorders like dementia. Moreover, the fact that the motivation for introducing St Oswald’s in the first place is the focus on Amos Diggory, who is still grieving for his son Cedric, further undermines the depiction of the institution as a cheerful place and, instead, reinforces the theme of loss, which is running through the entire play. All in all the play creates a sense of completion and closure rather than functioning as the beginning of a new set of stories focusing on the ‘next generation’. It could almost be called an ‘extended epilogue’. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child does not introduce a new archenemy but revives the old one once more. There are quite a number of scenes featuring Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Draco, and in the final showdown, the two generations have to 13 A case in point is the vampire Spike in the TV series Buffy, the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), who turns from the title character’s archenemy into one of her closest allies. THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 233 work together. Thus, the play does not focus exclusively on the next generation and simultaneously departs from one of the conventions of children’s literature, where young protagonists are typically allowed […] to become strong, brave, rich, powerful, independent – on certain conditions and for a limited time. Even though the fictional child is usually brought back to the security of home and parental supervision, the narratives have subversive effect, showing that the rules imposed on the child by the adults are in fact arbitrary (Nikolajeva 227). When left to their own devices, Albus and Scorpius create chaos; in order to correct their mistakes, they need support by adults (their parents in the final scenes respectively Snape, Hermione and Ron in Act Three, Scenes Five – Nine). While 11-year-old Harry faced the first of several reincarnations of Voldemort on his own at the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and managed to defeat the villain (for the time being), Albus and Scorpius appear to need adult backup in order to get things right. Ultimately, this presumably means quite simply that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has largely shed the vestiges of the origins of the Potterverse in children’s literature. In a more grown-up vision of the wizarding world, the notion that children can essentially get by without adult support – an idea that informs for instance children’s adventure stories written by Enid Blyton as well as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) – no longer holds. In other words, the young protagonists are ultimately overshadowed by adult characters – even though they prove to be quite ingenious, as the strategy of using Harry’s baby blanket to send a message ‘through time’ proves. While the play does not give the young protagonists as much room and agency as the novels did, Albus and Scorpius seem to have found quite a lot of fans already. After all, on the online platform Archive of Our Own, there are already 5,346 fan writings involving Scorpius and an amazing number of 16,059 search results for Albus Potter.14 This striking popularity of the two characters is presumably to a certain extent due to the fact that the presentation of these adolescent boys renders a queer reading possible, which ties in with the overall popularity of ‘slash’ fan fiction, i.e., texts focusing on “same-sex trust, intimacy and eroticism” (Duffett 170).15 Yet Albus and Scorpius are not the only interesting new characters in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In the character of Delphi16 the play addresses the trope of the orphan once 14 The numbers were elicited on 26 September 2017. 15 For a discussion of possible queer readings of the play, cf. the contribution by Marthe-Siobhán Hecke in this volume. Various reasons for the popularity of slash fan fiction are examined by Mark Duffett (173- 78). 16 As is the case with many of Rowling’s characters, Delphi’s name is semanticised, due to the fact that it invites several associations. The most obvious ones rely on the link between her first name and the ancient Greek oracle of Delphi, which was devoted to the God Apollo and said to be the omphalos (‘navel’), the centre, of the world situated on Mount Parnassus not too far from the Gulf of Corinth (cf. Cartwright n.p.). A parallel between the play and the oracle is established by the relevance of serpents: the young woman Delphi is the daughter of Voldemort, who is the heir of Slytherin and fittingly accompanied by the snake Nagini, while the oracle of Delphi is the site where Apollo is believed to have killed the Python, a dragon-like serpent, who guarded the sacred area. The actual oracles were performed by Pythia, the priestess, whose name provides an immediate reference to Apollo’s deed. But it is not only the allusion to monstrous snakes and their being overcome by heroes that is evoked by the protagonist’s name; due to the eponymous oracle it also affirms the relevance of the prophecy for the plot development (cf. Child 247), a link that is further highlighted by young Delphi being associated with an Augurey, an “Irish phoenix”, which “has a distinctive low and throbbing cry, which was once believed to foretell death” (Fantastic Beasts 2017, 5, original emphasis); this may have been a rather apt skill considering the fact that the Latin verb ‘augurare’ means ‘to foretell’ or ‘to forebode’. Cf. the following MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 234 more, which is a recurring motif in Rowling’s novels and contributes to the coherence of the Potter narrative on a thematic level. While Harry comes to terms with having lost his parents, Delphi is adamant in her attempts to bring her father back. Some people have found fault with the fact that Bellatrix Lestrange has given birth to Voldemort’s child.17 Yet the notion that a villain is eager to produce offspring, i.e., an heir, is actually not that far-fetched in the light of genre conventions. In many respects, Voldemort is a stereotypical Gothic villain, and the idea of producing an heir at all costs is something that Harry’s archenemy might share for instance with the very first Gothic villain (Manfred) in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto (1764). The loss of his only son and heir causes Manfred to turn into a Gothic villain in the first place. For someone who is as obsessed with ancestry as Voldemort is, the wish to produce an heir who will carry on his legacy certainly seems plausible. It is thus only the idea of Voldemort potentially following patterns of romance that seems utterly out of character. Romance, of course, does not have to precede the conception of a child. So there is no need to ascribe romantic feelings to Voldemort. With respect to Bellatrix Lestrange there are actually hints in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which suggest that she might not have been averse to bearing her ‘master’s’ child.18 Reading the play, of course, inevitably falls short of the experience of actually watching a performance, which strives to involve the audience in the magic. While an illusion of magic nowadays may be created quite easily in movies by means of CGI, the task of presenting credible Harry Potter-style magic on the theatre stage is challenging. The advantage of the theatre in comparison to movies, however, becomes apparent in a scene like Act Two, Scene Twenty, where Dementors are flying through the auditorium (cf. Child 173); here, the theatre manages to provide a remarkable degree of immersion. Even if less immersive, the magic displayed on stage can hold its own when compared with what has been animated in the movies: actors hovering in the air and Albus’s, Scorpius’s and Delphi’s sudden disappearance when they are being sucked into a telephone box are only two of many examples that support this impression. The play has been hugely successful, with performances sold out months in advance. Due to the fact that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child could be called ‘all-ages theatre’ one might even hope that it will make younger people more interested in the theatre in general. In spring 2018, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will open on Broadway, which is indicative of a transatlantic expansion of the Potterverse, which is also apparent in the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, though in different ways. passage when Delphi addresses (Harry in the shape of) Voldemort: “‘I am the Augurey to your Dark Lord, and I am ready to give all that I have to serve you’” (Child 307). 17 Cf. the following comments from reviews: “Another major plot point was Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange having a daughter; first of all, it’s questionable Voldemort had any sexual desires whatsoever, it seems particularly out of character. Second, it’s something that really does read like fan-fiction.” (Shepherd n.p.); “We’re meant to find it credible that the cold, asexual, incapable-of-loving Voldemort had sex with Bellatrix Lestrange right before the Battle of Hogwarts and produced a daughter?” (Tausz n.p.). 18 The following passages from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows support the idea that Bellatrix might have harboured feelings of a diffusely romantic nature with respect to Voldemort: “Bellatrix had spoken: she sat closest to Voldemort […]. Voldemort raised his hand to silence her, and she did not speak another word, but eyed him in worshipful fascination” (Hallows 563); “‘My Lord…my Lord…’ It was Bellatrix’s voice, and she spoke as if to a lover” (ibid. 580, original emphasis). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 235 III. The prequel: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes readers/spectators into the future of the Potterverse while simultaneously revisiting a number of characters and moments from the original series, whereas the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ventures more clearly onto new territory in terms of its spatial and temporal dimension. The setting of the movie is not contemporary Britain, but New York City in 1926. At the beginning of the movie, this new departure within the franchise is marked by means of a transition from the familiar ‘Hedwig’s Theme’ by John Williams, which opens all of the Harry Potter movies, to a different musical theme. Still, there are many links with Rowling’s novels, which make sure that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them remains firmly situated within the Potterverse. The depiction of magic and magical artefacts, for instance, picks up the tradition of the Harry Potter movies. The attention to detail, which has become one of the hallmark features of the Harry Potter book and film series is again apparent in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and has been acknowledged by an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design and a BAFTA Award for Best Production Design (2017). Though none of the main characters in the movie is a protagonist from the original series, there are still connections on the character level. The main character Newt Scamander is a former Hogwarts student, whose name has been familiar to fans since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, where Scamander’s book on fantastic beasts appears on the list of textbooks that Harry is supposed to buy at Diagon Alley (cf. Stone 77). True to the ruse that it is one of the textbooks used at Hogwarts, the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them does not contain a plot, but essentially lists various ‘beasts’ and provides information on these. The 2016 movie “convert[s] this static encyclopaedia into a spectacular actionadventure about the origins of his [Newt Scamander’s] book” (Bradshaw n.p.). As was pointed out above, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child strives to revise the overwhelmingly negative depiction of Slytherin. One could argue that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them does something quite similar for another Hogwarts house, which has not been vilified in the series but certainly neglected. With Newt Scamander, a former Hufflepuff becomes the film’s protagonist and shows that Hufflepuffs are not only loyal, but may also possess plenty of courage as well as knowledge and expertise that would not be out of place in Ravenclaw.19 In addition to Scamander, there are further characters that are linked to the original series. Dumbledore is mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, though only in passing. The name Gellert Grindelwald is also familiar from the novels; in the first volume he is categorised as a “dark wizard ” (Stone 114, original emphasis) who was defeated by Dumbledore in 1945, and in the further course of the series the close friendship between Grindelwald and Dumbledore during their youth throws a dubious light on Harry’s mentor. The movie also suggests that Newt Scamander at one point had a crush on a fellow student called Leta Lestrange, whose last name must ring a bell with fans, since it implies that Newt is somehow connected with the family of Sirius Black, Narcissa Malfoy and, of course, the 19 There are attempts in the original series to show the qualities of Hufflepuffs. Cedric Diggory is a Hufflepuff, and in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the Hufflepuffs are also presented in a quite positive light. When the evacuation of students before the Battle of Hogwarts is about to begin, it is a Hufflepuff student, Ernie Macmillan, who stands up and shouts: “‘And what if we want to stay and fight?’” (Hallows 489). When the students who prefer to go home have left, “[t]he Slytherin table was completely deserted, but a number of older Ravenclaws remained seated while their fellows filed out: even more Hufflepuffs stayed behind, and half of Gryffindor remained in their seats, necessitating Professor McGonagall’s descent from the teachers’ platform to chivvy the under-age on their way” (ibid. 491). The main focus is on Gryffindor throughout the series, due to the focus on Harry’s point of view. MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 236 notorious Bellatrix Lestrange. Given Rowling’s knack for picking up apparently circumstantial details at a later stage in order to weave them into the texture of her increasingly complex world, one may venture the guess that we will hear more about Leta Lestrange in the next movies. The information that is currently available on Pottermore about the second movie, which will be released in November 2018, confirms that Grindelwald, Dumbledore and Leta Lestrange will appear in the next instalment of the new film series. As the title already suggests, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them shifts the focus partially to the magical creatures inhabiting the wizarding world. The link with the original series is enhanced by the fact that four of the ‘beasts’ that play a prominent role in the movie – the Demiguise, the Erumpent, the Bowtruckle and the Niffler – are already mentioned in the original series. When Harry, Ron and Hermione visit the eccentric Xenophilius Lovegood they see an Erumpent horn on the wall (cf. Hallows 325), and Lovegood tells them that Invisibility Cloaks may be “‘woven from Demiguise hair’” (ibid. 333). Later on, Bowtruckles are mentioned at least in passing by Aberforth (cf. ibid. 452), but these are also mentioned in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), in which they are described as twigs which “revealed themselves to be what looked like tiny pixieish creatures made of wood, each with knobbly brown arms and legs, two twiglike fingers at the end of each hand and a funny flat, barklike face in which a pair of beetle-brown eyes glittered” (Phoenix 233). Nifflers are introduced to the students in one of Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures lessons in Harry’s fourth year. Here the narrator describes the Nifflers as “fluffy black creatures with long snouts. Their front paws were curiously flat, like spades, and they were blinking up at the class, looking politely puzzled at all the attention” (Goblet 590). Hagrid informs his students that the Nifflers’ defining characteristic is that “‘[t]hey like sparkly stuff’” and, thus, are “‘[u]seful little treasure detectors’” (ibid.). The Demiguise also provides a link with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, where Albus and Scorpius use a Tincture of Demiguise as ‘invisible ink’ on Harry’s baby blanket (cf. Child 284). In the stage play, the Demiguise is only associated with invisibility, but the additional information on Demiguises provided in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – i.e., that Demiguises are able to foresee the most probable future – of course also fits extremely well into the context of a play that focuses on the creation of alternative timelines. Already in the Harry Potter series, magical creatures are a recurring feature. A mandatory subject at Hogwarts is devoted to them – Care of Magical Creatures, which is for some time taught by Hagrid, who clearly loves all fantastic beasts, even those that others find hard to appreciate. To a certain extent, Newt Scamander resembles Hagrid in the way he cares about the creatures he brings to New York City.20 Yet, while Hagrid’s love for dragons, spiders, three-headed dogs and other ‘monsters’ tends to be depicted as bordering on the ludicrous, Newt Scamander’s efforts echo the insight that wildlife deserves protection and are indicative of a scientific stance.21 Inside his suitcase there is a pair of Graphorns, which is “‘the last breeding pair in existence’” (Beasts 103-04), as Newt tells Jacob. Newt tries to rescue this 20 In addition to sharing a love for fantastic creatures, Newt and Hagrid consider themselves both as ‘mothers’ to some of the creatures (cf. Stone 254, Beasts 107) and have been expelled from Hogwarts for similar reasons: Hagrid was expelled because he was wrongly accused of setting the Basilisk free, which attacked and murdered one of the students, and Graves explains during the interrogation that Newt was “‘ thrown out of Hogwarts for endangering human life [...] with a beast’” (Beasts 158). 21 As a matter of fact, Newt’s ecological approach reminded critics of two outstanding British (non-magi-) zoologists: “Newt is a connoisseur, scientist and scatterbrained magic-beast taxonomist who is not far from the [...] beardless Darwin. Redmayne’s distinctively breathy voice even has something of the young Attenborough” (Bradshaw n.p.). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 237 species from extinction and to get more members of the wizarding community interested in the conservation of endangered species, as the following dialogue shows: NEWT: If I hadn’t managed to rescue them, that could have been the end of Graphorns – for ever. […] JACOB: So what – you, you rescue these creatures? NEWT: Yes, that’s right. Rescue, nurture and protect them, and I’m gently trying to educate my fellow wizards about them (ibid. 104). In addition to propagating breeding programs similar to the ones run by zoos in the Muggle world, Newt criticises animal trafficking, a practice that endangers species in our reality as well.22 In other words, the Potterverse appears to have begun to embrace serious ecological thinking. Newt’s ecological awareness and passion for creatures is also reflected in his magical suitcase, which opens into a “vast polychrome world of wonder” (Zachanek n.p.), where the Magizoologist nurses, nurtures and preserves fantastic beasts. Inside his suitcase, Newt created a fully functioning ecosystem, complete with replications of different geographical habitats: “It contains what appears to be a safari park in miniature. Each of NEWT’S creatures has its own perfect, magically realised habitat” (Beasts 100, original emphasis). Existing in the macrocosm of the suitcase, these habitats are arranged as a series of interconnected, adjoining rooms and display different seasons and times of day and night to suit the individual needs of the creatures inhabiting the spaces. Newt’s magical suitcase significantly departs from the ideas informing spaces and containers viewers are already familiar with from Rowling’s Harry Potter universe, such as Hermione’s beaded bag or the Room of Requirement. The ‘world’ contained inside the suitcase is subdivided into smaller compartments, which play with the idea of multi-dimensionality. The impression of the spaciousness of the individual habitats is created by the apparently enchanted ‘walls’: when Newt calls the Graphorns, which require some time to come on screen, they have apparently covered some distance, which the size of the compartment – when it is shown from above – does, in fact, not permit (cf. Yates 00:37:31-00:38:04). Instead of caging the creatures, Newt’s preservation strategies are thus based on recreating what are presumably the creatures’ native habitats, which are magically expanded and connected to one another.23 All habitats (re-)created inside the suitcase are natural environments, ranging from wintry, mountainous landscapes to small green woods, and even Newt’s shed is made of wood. This shed, which is reminiscent of the Weasleys’ Burrow and functions as a refuge for Newt, establishes a strong contrast to the urban environment in New York and in particular with the impressive, concrete building in which the Magical Congress of the United States of America is located. The extension charm applied to the suitcase does not suggest that Newt has exhausted the available space, but that he might add further compartments, which renders an expansion of the living ecosystem in the suitcase possible. The multitude of beasts already inside the case, on the one hand, highlights Newt’s environmental awareness and critical ecological attitude and, on the other hand, reinforces that the creatures are in need of protection. Before they embark on the rescue mission to recover the creatures that have escaped from the suitcase, 22 This is what Newt tells Jacob about the Thunderbird inside his suitcase: “‘He was trafficked, you see. I found him in Egypt, he was all chained up. Couldn’t leave him there, had to bring him back. I’m going to put you back where you belong, aren’t I, Frank. To the wilds of Arizona’” (Beasts 102). 23 The idea that the compartments are subject to an extension is also reinforced when Newt and Jacob enter the area enclosing the forest in which, among other creatures, the Bowtruckles live. The moment Jacob steps inside the compartment, the audience perceives the space to be elongated and to become three-dimensional (Yates 00:38:56-00:39:00). MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 238 Newt explains to Jacob that the fantastic beasts are “‘currently in alien terrain, surrounded by millions of the most vicious creatures on the planet. [...] Humans’” (Beasts 113-14). This statement emphasises the ontological status of the suitcase as an alternative, magical and safe habitat for the creatures, which would otherwise be endangered or even become extinct. In this respect, Newt provides what he considers “[p]erhaps the most important step in the concealment of magical creatures” (Fantastic Beasts 2001, xxx), namely a safe habitat, which he created inside his suitcase, which is equipped with a ‘Muggle worthy’ setting to conceal and protect his fantastic beasts. In line with the original series, the movie also displays a tendency to introduce a wide range of different magical creatures and to be very specific about these species and their properties. Already in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the readers learn that dragons can be subdivided into different species, one of which is the Norwegian Ridgeback. In the first task of the Triwizard Tournament, the dragons the four competitors have to face again belong to different species; there is “a Welsh Green”, a “Chinese Fireball”, a “Swedish Short- Snout” and a “Hungarian Horntail” (Goblet 384). Introducing several dragon species, which differ in terms of their looks and characteristics, instead of opting for the generic label ‘dragon’ is proof of the attention to detail which is typical of Rowling’s brand of worldmaking in general.24 Beyond that, this strategy may foster a recognition of the diversity and the uniqueness of living beings that correlates with ecocritical thinking (cf. Zapf 277). While there are many links between the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the original series, the most complex one is the relationship to Rowling’s book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was first published in 2001. Although the movie is certainly only an adaptation in the widest sense25 – given the fact that Rowling’s book, which is indebted to the genre of the bestiary (cf. Vom Lehn), does not tell any kind of story, let alone one that is set in the United States – an intriguing dialogue between the text and the movie can be traced, which attests to the dynamic nature of the Potterverse. The book was supposedly ‘written’ by Newt Scamander and constitutes an “authoritative compendium” (Fantastic Beasts 2001, xviii) as well as “a renowned textbook for Magizoology and [has] thus [been] used for teaching a specialized branch of science” (Vom Lehn 68). Due to the fact that Newt Scamander’s book is one of the school books Harry needs for his first year at Hogwarts, readers are familiar with the author’s name and the title from the beginning of the Harry Potter series, as was mentioned above. The 2001 edition is allegedly a reprint of Harry’s textbook, “complete with his and his friends’ informative notes in the margins” (Fantastic Beasts 2001, xiv). Including explicit references to the protagonists of the novels links the book even more firmly with the original series. Their annotations are often used as either jokes or hints at adventures the trio had in the series; for instance, they expand the headline of the entry ‘werewolf’ to “werewolfs aren’t all bad” (ibid. 83), clearly alluding to their teacher and friend Remus Lupin. 24 In her 2001 edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling even goes a step further and lists a total number of ten different species of dragons in the entry ‘Dragons’. These ten species of dragons are the Antipodean Opaleye, the Chinese Fireball, the Common Welsh Green, the Hebridean Black, the Hungarian Horntail, the Norwegian Ridgeback, the Peruvian Vipertooth, the Romanian Longhorn, the Swedish Short-Snout and the Ukrainian Ironbelly (cf. Fantastic Beasts 2001, 20-25). Thus, Rowling expands the geographical range (as some of the names already suggest) as well as the variety of dragons that populate the Potterverse. 25 Drawing upon Geoffrey Wagner’s typology of adaptations, Brian McFarlane distinguishes between transpositions, commentaries and analogies, which differ in how close they are to the original text. While transpositions stick more or less to the original, the analogy is the type of adaptation that constitutes the most independent work of art (cf. 10-11). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 239 Apart from displaying links with the original series, the book also expands the fictional universe by including biographical information on Newt Scamander and by providing additional ‘facts’ on beasts that are only mentioned in passing in the Harry Potter series (up until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire). As Antje vom Lehn argues, the footnotes in the text are also crucial for expanding the Potterverse: “The footnotes [...] [refer] to other (fictitious) books from the magical world [and] are another way of giving the fictional universe greater coherence, depth and credibility” (68). In quoting, for instance, Bathilda Bagshot’s A History of Magic, Scamander’s book refers to one of the standard works Hermione consults time and again and thus draws upon something readers are already familiar with, rooting the book firmly within the Harry Potter universe. Providing full references to other (academic) works from the wizarding world, such as The Philosophy of the Mundane: Why the Muggles Prefer Not to Know by Prof. Mordicus Egg, Dust & Mildewe, 1963 (cf. Fantastic Beasts 2001, n.8 xxix), Rowling diversifies and enlarges the repertoire of (fictional) ‘textual resources’ (Wertsch) within the magical world. The book’s foreword, supposedly written by none other than Albus Dumbledore, offers some information on the publishing history of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and informs readers that it is available to Muggles as of now. With her usual attention to detail, Rowling maintains this impression, for instance by referring to the cooperation of two publishing houses: “Bloomsbury in association with Obscurus Books, 18a Diagon Alley, London” (Fantastic Beasts 2001, n.p., original emphasis).26 Not privileging one publishing house over the other, the back cover lists them in reversed order and includes the price in GBP (£) as well as in Galleons and Sickles, which again suggests a dual readership. Since the book has been ‘made available’ for Muggles, its publication also had an impact on (material) fan culture, because fans could now access material that Harry and his friends used at Hogwarts, furthering their own studies in Magizoology and Care of Magical Creatures – and may presumably decide whether they feel addressed as wizards or Muggles. In 2017, a revised edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been published, which features six new ‘beasts’, only one of which has been included in the first instalment of the new movie series. In his introduction to the 2001 edition, Newt Scamander states that he “[does] not doubt that some time this year yet another [species] will be discovered, necessitating a fifty-third revised edition” (ibid. xxxiv), so that the new edition of the book with additional beasts does not come as a surprise. In the revised edition, Rowling once more elaborates on the co-publication of the book by Obscurus Books and Bloomsbury, yet makes a significant change in the foreword, which is “[t]o appear only in ‘For wizards version’” (Fantastic Beasts 2017, ix). Since the preface closes with an editor’s note regarding the ‘Muggle edition’ (“for Muggle edition, usual guff: ‘obvious fiction – all good fun – nothing to worry about – hope you enjoy it’”; ibid. xiii), fans may feel reassured that they are part of Rowling’s wizarding world.27 The revised edition of the book also has an impact on the new movie series, since additional information is either hinted at or given explicitly. The six new beasts – the Hidebehind, the Hodag, the Horned Serpent, the Snallygaster, the Thunderbird and the Wampus Cat – 26 In Quidditch Through the Ages (2001), which was published alongside Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Rowling also elaborates on wizarding publishing houses and includes the fictional publishing house ‘Whizz Hard Books’, which is located in 129B Diagon Alley, London. By contrast, Hermione’s ‘rune translation’ of The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008) seems to have been published only by Bloomsbury (and Rowling’s charity Lumos). 27 The recently published house editions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone aim at a similar effect with respect to the Hogwarts houses. Cf. the contribution by Marion Gymnich and Klaus Scheunemann in this volume. MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 240 have been illustrated (except for the Hodag), and the readers are told that these can be found in America, which suggests that they might play a role in the upcoming movies. 28 With information such as “[t]he Horned Serpent gives its name to one of the houses of Ilvermorny” (Fantastic Beasts 2017, 43), Rowling also draws attention to the American wizarding school, which she has introduced on Pottermore, reinforcing the coherence of the expanding Potterverse.29 The new edition also gives additional information on Newt Scamander, which in all likelihood will be incorporated in the next movies of the series. The comment “that Albus Dumbledore was something more than a schoolteacher to me” (ibid. xii) might be read in the context of queerbaiting, whereas “the declassification of certain secret documents kept at the Ministry of Magic” (ibid. x) may hint at an increasing politicisation of events in the following movies. Given that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has become the starting point for an entirely new movie series and has been adjusted accordingly in the new edition, the Potterverse is currently in the process of a substantial expansion both on the textual level and the big screen. This expansion makes itself felt very clearly in the introduction of New York as a new setting. In the Potterverse, settings have always had a major impact on the atmosphere. Even if there are a number of scenes in the Harry Potter series that are set in London (in particular in the Ministry), the stories are mostly set in Hogwarts and various villages (Hogsmeade, Godric’s Hollow) or sparsely populated areas in Britain (especially in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by contrast, is set entirely in New York City. The American metropolis is depicted as a rather grim place where wizards and witches are confronted with hatred that is fuelled by the Second Salemers’ campaigns against magic: Fantastic Beasts may take place in the build-up to the Great Depression, but its vision of an America caught in the jaws of fear and paranoia has the stony-grim ring of the here and now. Hogsmeade, USA this ain’t: the city is cold, dark and seething with suspicion, with pamphleteers pressing for a ‘Second Salem’ – as in witch trials – to keep the country’s clandestine magic-using element in check. Mixing cultures is frowned upon, intermarriage the strictest of no-nos (Collin n.p.).30 Beyond such political overtones, the images of New York City may also remind viewers of disaster and superhero movies, which are often set in the American metropolis. Thus, scenes in which buildings are destroyed or whole streets are ripped open may look quite similar to scenes of devastation in other genres and filmic contexts. After all, this is the city that has been terrorised on the big screen by King Kong, Godzilla and various supervillains countless times. Apart from the setting, one of the major innovations of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the fact that the movie includes a Muggle (or No-Maj, as the American wizarding society puts it) among the main characters and presents this character, Jacob Kowalski, in a very positive way. In the Potterverse, Muggles have traditionally been marginalised, as Niko- 28 The illustrations in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2017) are heavily influenced by the 2016 movie adaptation, as can be seen with the depiction of the Thunderbird or the Niffler. Due to its important role in the movie, the Niffler features also prominently in the book and has even been used as decorative element on the title page of the volume as well as on its final page, which allows arguing that – similar to a Niffler accumulating anything that glitters – the reader accumulates knowledge and a deeper understanding regarding the fantastic beasts included in the compendium. 29 The four houses of Ilvermorny are Thunderbird, Wampus, Horned Serpent and Pukwudgie. 30 Parallels between intolerance and persecution in contemporary society and the Salem witchcraft trials have been drawn upon in American literature before, perhaps most famously in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible (1953). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 241 lajeva observes: “Power hierarchies in the series are unequivocal. Wizards are superior to non-wizards” (228). Moreover, the Dursleys certainly make Muggles look bad, and apart from Harry’s horrible relatives Muggles are only mentioned more or less in passing (such as Hermione’s dentist parents for instance). On the whole, wizards, with the notable exception of Arthur Weasley, do not seem to be all that fond of Muggles although the series mentions that some wizards and witches have Muggle friends or are married to a Muggle. At first sight, the portly Jacob Kowalski bears a vague resemblance to Harry’s Uncle Vernon, but Jacob turns out to be the exact opposite of the unpleasant bully living in number four, Privet Drive, who does not “hold with such nonsense” (Stone 7), i.e., magic. Unlike Vernon Dursley, Jacob is almost immediately enraptured by what he experiences in the wizarding world. In fact, he sees the world he accidentally stumbles into with just as much wide-eyed wonder as Harry during his first visit to Diagon Alley. He likes Scamander, Porpentina Goldstein and especially the latter’s sister, the legilimens Queenie, who, in turn, is quite taken with Kowalski. The No-Maj is also fascinated with Newt’s fantastic beasts and clearly enjoys watching, feeding and stroking them, which shows that he is a character who is not that easily frightened, who is open-minded and curious. At the end of the movie, Jacob is very unhappy to be forced to leave the wizarding world behind, and Newt and Queenie are equally sad to let him go. During their adventures, Jacob has become a true friend for Newt, who tells him: “‘you’re my friend and I’ll never forget how you helped me, Jacob’” (Beasts 267). Paradoxically, in a society where the Statute of Secrecy is adhered to rigorously and enforced by wizarding law, the boundary between wizards and No-Majs seems more permeable than in the original series. With the introduction of Jacob there appears to be a real chance of ‘centring the periphery’ or of diversifying the magical master narrative by including Muggles/No-Majs in the adventures of wizards and witches; as Queenie says to Jacob at one point, “‘you’re one of us now!’” (ibid. 167). In this respect the happy ending of the movie is crucial; it is set three months later and opens with a shot of Jacob’s bakery. Not only has Jacob been able to fulfil his dream of opening his own shop due to Newt’s generous present of Occamy eggshells, but his pastries also seem to have been inspired by the fantastic beasts he came across during his adventures. The baked goods are “all moulded into fanciful little shapes – we recognise the Demiguise, Niffler and Erumpent among them” (ibid. 281, original emphasis), which suggests that Jacob, despite having been obliviated, subconsciously seems to remember some of the fantastic beasts he encountered. The impression that he still ‘remembers’ what occured is enforced even more strongly when Queenie enters the bakery: “JACOB looks up and is thunderstruck all over again: it’s QUEENIE. They stare at each other – QUEENIE beams, radiant. JACOB, quizzical and totally enchanted, touches his neck – a flicker of memory. He smiles back” (ibid. 282, original emphasis). The ‘flicker of memory’ and his reaction indicate that Jacob can at least partially remember what happened, which implies that the Obliviation charm was not as successful as MACUSA anticipated. At first sight, the stout, middle-aged Jacob Kowalski seems to be an unusual choice as a protagonist in a fantasy movie that also seeks to address a younger audience. Yet, the example of middle-aged Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) has demonstrated that novels (and movies) without a child or adolescent protagonist can in fact work very well for a young target readership/audience. Jacob Kowalski and Bilbo Baggins even share a number of characteristics, which are likely to endear them to audiences: in particular their loyalty, humble demeanour and open-mindedness. Moreover, the Niffler is an element that is bound to appeal to a younger audience since many of the scenes featuring the mischievous creature are rather comical. A case in point is the scene when Newt shakes and tickles the Niffler in the bank vault to relieve the kleptomaniac and agile creature of a significant amount of coins, gold bars and jewels he has put into his pouch. This scene aims at indicating the somewhat MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 242 strenuous relationship between Newt and the Niffler as well as creating comic relief. Thus, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not necessarily a movie that only addresses an adult audience, despite claims in some reviews that seek to establish a one-to-one relationship between the lack of young protagonists and an older target audience.31 The age of the implied audience has also been an issue of discussion with respect to the Harry Potter series. In the course of the seven novels, Rowling’s series gets increasingly darker, arguably ceasing to be children’s literature at one point. Simultaneously, political themes became more and more prominent. While fantasy novels by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as well as George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire saga (1996-) essentially conjure up pseudo-medieval, feudal societies, Rowling takes a radically different approach. In the wizarding world there is an equivalent of aristocrats, but the society is governed by the Ministry of Magic, whose many departments for the most part suggest a considerable amount of bureaucracy rather than democratic structures. By increasingly providing insights into the Ministry and its workings, the readers are also granted glimpses of political corruption and misuse of power. This aspect of the Ministry, which becomes particularly obvious in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when the Ministry is under the control of Voldemort’s supporters, establishes a link with the popular genre of the (young adult) dystopia, which adds yet another facet to the genre hybridisation Rowling’s series has made use of from the start. This interest in politics, which increases in the course of the series, is also picked up in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and might very well become more central in the next instalments of the new movie series. In terms of its plot structure, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them differs from the Harry Potter series in so far as it focuses less on a central quest plot. Newt Scamander’s efforts to catch the various beasts that have escaped from his magical suitcase makes up much of the plot, but in particular the beginning and the end of the movie quite clearly suggest that there is significantly more at stake in the movie series. At the beginning of the film the viewers see articles from magical newspapers from various countries and in different languages reporting on Gellert Grindelwald, whose name is familiar from the original series, as was pointed out above. The name appears for the first time in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, where Grindelwald is mentioned on one of the Chocolate Frog collectible cards, due to his link with Albus Dumbledore. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the portrait of Grindelwald is fleshed out considerably, since he played an important and dubious role in Dumbledore’s past. If Voldemort was the darkest wizard of all time, Grindelwald is probably a close second. According to Rita Skeeter’s biography of Albus Dumbledore, in a list of Most Dangerous Dark Wizards of All Time, he [Grindelwald] would miss out on the top spot only because You-Know-Who arrived, a generation later, to steal his crown. As Grindelwald never extended his campaign of terror to Britain, however, the details of his rise to power are not widely known here (Hallows 290, original emphasis). While journalist Rita Skeeter is not the most reliable source of information, at least her observations on Grindelwald by and large seem to hold true. The scenes focusing on him in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them constitute a kind of frame within the filmic narrative which suggests where the film series might be going in the future. It appears to embark on an 31 Cf. the following comment: “The new movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the first fulllength Harry Potter franchise story that leaves behind childhood adventure and teen angst, and expressly deals with adult characters living in an adult world. And there has to be some appeal in that for longtime series fans: in theory, it’s a sign that the series has continued to mature with them” (Robinson n.p.). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 243 exploration of events in the past that are only alluded to in the Harry Potter series and that are bound to take viewers to locations other than Britain. IV. Background information and material for further stories: Pottermore Taking recipients somewhere where they have not been yet is also a key strategy of Pottermore.com, which provides fans with “a completely new form of storytelling, blending encyclopedia, computer game, and novel into an interactive form” (Sharp 115). In 2011, fans were delighted when the new (and free) Pottermore website was launched on Harry’s birthday, inviting initially only the first million of users to a new Harry Potter experience (cf. Flood n.p.). Rowling commented on her motivation behind this “collaborative project” (ibid.) as follows: I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new generation […] I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment (Rowling quoted in ibid.). In addition to its originally highly interactive set-up, Pottermore.com was designed as the exclusive website for the sale of ebook editions of the Harry Potter series and it also promised “to feature a wealth of new and previously unpublished material about the world of Harry Potter” (Flood n.p.). What is especially remarkable in this context is the fact that Rowling devised the website as a true publishing venue in the sense of it providing new texts that were written to stay: “Most interesting is the explicit claim that Rowling’s writing on Pottermore is official enough to be permanent (‘yes, it’s canon!’)” (Brummitt 125). Exploring Pottermore is a bit like walking through Hogwarts: every moment one may encounter something unexpected, and, as Bryan Young puts it, “[t]o say that Pottermore is an immersive experience might be an understatement” (n.p.). The original version (2011-2015) invited the user to explore chapters of the Harry Potter novels in depth, providing readers with a wealth of additional information. There were objects to collect virtually, a shopping experience in Diagon Alley and a quiz which allowed the aspiring witch/wizard to be chosen by her/his wand before being sorted into one of the four Hogwarts school houses. But, as Young states, “there’s even more to do. You can cast spells and duel with fellow (live) students, you can make potions, and keep track of house points in the Great Hall” (n.p.). Due to the fact that Pottermore referred, at least initially, mainly to the original series and has provided in-depth additional information on characters, places, objects and cultural practices in the wizarding world Hutcheon claims that “[c]onsidered in the context of adaptation studies, Pottermore is an adaptation as remediation and extension, a transmedia worldbuilding experience” (197). Yet the strategies of world-building have developed over the years, the “digital heart of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World” (Pottermore Team n.p.) has changed its beat. As Brummitt summarises, “Pottermore from 2011-15 was largely preoccupied with strengthening the textual dominance of the Harry Potter novels and reinforcing Rowling’s authorial position, while offering fans new world-building material” (120). By contrast, the current website offers several tabs on more recent elements of the Potterverse, such as the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and provides, often exquisitely illustrated, extensive background knowledge.32 32 The biographical information given on Minerva McGonagall may serve as an example. The texts cover her ‘Childhood’, ‘School Career’, the events surrounding her ‘Early Heartbreak’, her ‘Ministry Career’, MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 244 Still, despite the rather recent addition of ‘Pottermore’s Digital Hogwarts Experience’ (launched on 01 September 2017), it remains fair to say about Pottermore that, in comparison to previous versions, “[o]pportunities for participation […] are further reduced in its present incarnation” (Brummitt 123). One of the prime functions of Pottermore with regard to the Potterverse is the expansion of the wizarding world in terms of its geography. In many respects, Rowling’s novels are quintessentially British. They are embedded in the tradition of the British boarding-school system, most of the characters are British or Irish and the setting is restricted to the U.K. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the Quidditch World Cup as well as the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang competing with Hogwarts in the Triwizard Tournament introduce an international dimension into the series, but there is no sustained internationalisation from that point onwards. Even though trips abroad and work abroad are mentioned from the first volume onwards (e.g. Ron’s brother Charlie working with dragons in Romania, the Weasleys travelling to Egypt in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, etc.), the focus is clearly on Britain throughout the series. On Pottermore, the wizarding world expands significantly in terms of its geography. There are short articles about wizarding schools in different countries, including Beauxbatons in France and Durmstrang in Eastern Europe, but also Mahoutokoro in Japan, Uagadou in Uganda and Castelobruxo in Brasil. Currently, the most extensive texts on Pottermore focus on the United States, accompanying the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Pottermore currently features a “History of Magic in North America” (a pseudo-historiographic account of the development of the magical community in the United States and its troubled relationship with No-Majs) as well as a comparatively long text exploring the origins and history of Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ilvermorny is first mentioned during an exchange between Jacob, Queenie and Newt in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them which suggests a transatlantic rivalry between schools: JACOB: (putting on his jacket) Did you say school? Is there a school? A wizardry school here? In America? QUEENIE: Of course – Ilvermorny! It’s only the best wizard school in the whole world! NEWT: I think you’ll find the best wizarding school in the world is Hogwarts! QUEENIE: HOGWASH (Beasts 222, original emphasis). Instead of discussing an international ranking of educational institutions several entries on Ilvermorny on Pottermore inform readers of when the school was founded and where it is located. Historiographical accounts correlate the origin of the school with the arrival of Irish immigrants in the United States and explain how the four houses – Horned Serpent, Wampus, Thunderbird and Pukwudgie – came into being. Even information on Ilvermorny’s sorting ceremony as well as on the school song is provided. In sum, these descriptions seem to validate the impression that wizardry is a transnational phenomenon which is always closely intertwined with Muggle history. In addition to highlighting the international dimension of the Potterverse, Pottermore also expands the historical depth of the wizarding world, taking both individuals and institutions as starting points, as the abovementioned texts on the different magical schools and the magical her ‘Friendship with Albus Dumbledore’, and the story of her ‘Marriage’. These accounts are complemented, for example, by ‘Rowling’s thoughts’ on her name as well as by a Minerva McGonagall fact file, some impressive quotes and a ‘Minerva McGonagall infographic’ also available in a mobile version (cf. Rowling, “Professor McGonagall” n.p.; Rowling, “All about... Minerva Mcgonagall [sic!]” n.p.). THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 245 history of North America already illustrate.33 There is, for instance, a chronology of British Ministers for Magic from 1707 to the present. Moreover, readers may explore the histories of the Potter family and of the Malfoy family, whose ancestor “Armand Malfoy arrived in Britain with William the Conqueror as part of the invading Norman army” (Rowling, “Malfoy Family” n.p.). As this example illustrates, Rowling’s historical accounts are typically tightly interwoven with Muggle history. This can be seen even more clearly with the following piece of information from Rowling’s account of the history of the Malfoy family: Though hotly denied by subsequent generations, there is ample evidence to suggest that the first Lucius Malfoy was an unsuccessful aspirant to the hand of Elizabeth I, and some wizarding historians allege that the Queen’s subsequent opposition to marriage was due to a jinx placed upon her by the thwarted Malfoy (ibid.). Rowling blends wizarding and Muggle history and creates alternative historiographic accounts by adding complementary material and information taken from her own universe. In her mock-revisionist historiography, which relies very much on ‘facts’ and historical dates (both from Muggle history and from wizarding history), Rowling endows her wizarding world with additional credibility and follows in the footsteps of Tolkien’s famous and extensive Appendix in The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). Yet, the very fact that Rowling links her wizarding history with Muggle history (and often inserts obviously ironic comments) shows that Rowling’s way of writing about ‘history’ is informed by a typically postmodern eclecticism and irreverence with respect to the boundary between fact and fiction. V. ‘Capacious extremis!’: Conclusion “The Extension Charm (‘Capacious extremis!’) is advanced, but subject to strict control, because of its potential misuse” (Rowling, “Extension Charm” n.p.). In the seven volumes of her Harry Potter series, J.K Rowling has managed to create a world that is amazingly detailed and coherent. After having established the contours of a remarkably plausible magical world in the first volume of her series, she has never ceased adding new information, new perspectives and twists, which convey the impression that there is still so much more to explore in the wizarding world. The stage play and the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are embedded in this particular tradition of storytelling. It is telling that the stage play, which provides Harry’s story with some kind of closure, had its premiere in the same year in which Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them embarks on a very different journey within the same universe. Thus, the year 2016 certainly marks a decisive step in the expansion of the Potterverse on stage and on screen. In several respects, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child seems to negotiate with the original series and partly even appears to deviate from frameworks readers of the novels may have expected: first of all, the sequel does not only rewrite the optimistic ending of the final novel (as it turns out that a representative of evil is still around), but it also subverts any precast ideas of ‘good’ and ‘evil’; this time it is not a (more or less purely) evil male adult that has to be vanquished. Albus and Scorpius and their families have to defeat a female adolescent whom recipients may read as a daughter who merely tries to cope with her loss and who would simply do anything to be able to meet her father. Even characters who have been perceived as either dark or morally ambiguous and with whom readers are familiar, such as 33 For an analysis of Rowling’s “A History of Magic in North America”, cf. the contribution by Aleksandra Szczodrowski in this volume. MARION GYMNICH, DENISE BURKHARD AND HANNE BIRK 246 Draco Malfoy, are morally realigned. Secondly, the positive image of Hogwarts as a home for a wizarding orphan, an extraordinary child, a perfect Gryffindor, is rewritten, because the focalization strategies highlight the perspective and perceptions of a rather common young wizard of Slytherin House (with his parents very much alive) for whom Hogwarts is mainly a place he does not cherish. Consequently, the play pursues an unusual narrative pace, the years at school are condensed, which leaves enough room for the introduction of alternative timelines. The phenomenon of time travel introduces the necessity of ‘cleaning up the timeline’ due to the temporal ripple effect and re-introduces the audience to already well-known characters or allows them to re-visit places that they recognise from the novels. As a matter of fact, this is only one of several narrative strategies that establish close links between the play and the original series. The fact that former protagonists still play important roles, the relevance of representing (Harry’s) dreams or the reoccurrence of specific features or characters, such as the Invisibility Cloak or the trolley witch, is a narrative phenomenon which (in allusion to Mieke Bal’s idea of travelling concepts) may be called ‘travelling narrative entities’, because they transcend several media with ease and can be rediscovered in various corners of the Potterverse. Hence, they mutually affirm the fictional world(s) and thus contribute to an effet de réel (Barthes) by adding semantic layers without questioning the validity of the narrated events. This strategy of assertion is echoed in the ending of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play which did not endow the young protagonists with as much agency as the original series: the final scenes do not promise the beginning of a new storytelling cycle, they rather convey a sense of closure. ‘Closure’ is certainly not what comes to mind with respect to the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Maybe paradoxically it is precisely this prequel which promises the beginning of several new, alternative narratives that will go far beyond the fictional ground covered so far. Nevertheless, the film exhibits a range of strategies that link it to the other works in the Potterverse: the attention to detail continues the tradition of the Harry Potter movies; there are also links on the character level (e.g. Newt Scamander and Gellert Grindelwald) and other ‘travelling entities’, such as the Demiguise, the Erumpent, the Bowtruckle and the Niffler, whom the audience recognises from the original series. And, of course, on a more abstract level, the interrelation between the film and the various editions of the eponymous text needs to be mentioned. In a first step, these editions provide additional information especially on magical creatures as well as on Newt Scamander and, in a second step, the most recent edition welcomes readers as members of the wizarding community by offering them a foreword that supposedly appears exclusively in the edition for witches and wizards. This concept of transcultural transgression, i.e., the idea that the borders between the world of wizards and Muggles need not be that fixed, is picked up again in the movie as it includes, for the very first time, a Muggle/No-Maj playing a vital part and due to implicit and explicit characterisation strategies, Jacob Kowalski can certainly be seen as a likeable protagonist and as a true friend to Newt Scamander. The shift of focus to the magical creatures and their wellbeing and survival is equally innovative. In combination with Newt’s educational approach, his dream to “[r]escue, nurture and protect them” (Beasts 104), Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them introduces a strong ecological stance into the Potterverse, which finds its best expression in Scamander’s suitcase, which can be understood as a magical device that may be used to visualise a potential ‘spatial ripple effect’ on screen. It is not only the case that the suitcase houses various perfectly balanced ecosystems which provide the creatures with precisely the habitats they require, but the multiple (and potentially countless) compartments adapt and expand continuously to the needs of the moment. In other words, Scamander’s suitcase endows the macrocosm of the metropolis New York City with a natural, heteroge- THE EVER-EXPANDING POTTERVERSE 247 nous microcosm that is very precious. If the suitcase were to fail, the worst ‘spatial ripple effect’ would follow, namely the extinction of several magical species. The spatial (as well as temporal) expansion of the Potterverse constitutes also one of the main aspects of Pottermore. Yet Pottermore, too, transfers this “world-building experience” (Hutcheon 197) into your own home. It may be argued that more recent versions of Pottermore are less interactive and immersive than the original (maybe due to the ever-increasing competition of the videogame industry), but it is still a vital element of the Potterverse that contributes to its coherence (for example by supplying background knowledge on characters’ biographies), to its internationalisation (for instance by providing further information on various wizarding schools) as well as to its being embedded in a socio-historical context (for example by exploring the histories of various wizarding families). Thus, Pottermore invites readers to acquire in-depth knowledge and/or to indulge in personal wizarding experiences, which allow them to be the agents or directors of their very own individual Potterverse expansion. Given the multiple fictional worlds, numerous timelines and various spatial dimensions the Potterverse works with, it does not come as a surprise that the extension charm (‘Capacious extremis!’) is referred to time and again. It is this very spell that allows Hermione to carry around all of the things the trio needs in a small, “fragile-looking bag” (Hallows 135) and that makes it possible for Newt Scamander to house an entire magical microcosm inside his suitcase. Once one starts exploring the Potterverse, one gets the impression that an Extension Charm has been cast on it as well. Just as Newt Scamander has created a heterogenous microcosm in his suitcase, which adapts to the needs of its inhabitants, Rowling’s Potterverse can be called a ‘heterocosm’ (Hutcheon), a “[w]orld […] adaptation” (Hutcheon 196) constituted (so far) mainly by the Harry Potter series and films, additional texts, various versions of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Pottermore. This does not only mean that Rowling employs “arguably one of the most powerful immersive adaptation strategies in use today” (ibid.), but that she is (luckily) also capable of expanding her Potterverse even further. So it seems pretty clear that the Extension Charm, ‘Capacious extremis!’, works brilliantly on the Potterverse and that it continues to provide a perfect habitat for witches and wizards, Muggles and No-Majs – as well as for its readers. Works Cited Barrett, Michèle, and Duncan Barrett. Star Trek: The Human Frontier. Polity, 2001. Bradshaw, Peter. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review – JK Rowling goes Steampunk.” The Guardian. 13 November 2016. Last access: 03 September 2017. Brummitt, Cassie. “Pottermore: Transmedia Storytelling and Authorship in Harry Potter.” The Midwest Quarterly: A Journal of Contemporary Thought 58.1 (2016): 112-32. Cartwright, Mark. “Delphi.” Ancient History Encyclopedia. 22 February 2013. Last access: 08 September 2017. 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Abstract

J. K. Rowling’s “ Harry Potter” series (1997–2007) has turned into a global phenomenon and her Potterverse is still expanding. The contributions in this volume provide a range of inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to various dimensions of this multifacetted universe. The introductory article focuses on different forms of world building in the novels, the translations, the film series and the fandom.

Part I examines various potential sources for Rowling’s series in folklore, the Arthurian legend and Gothic literature. Further articles focus on parallels between the “Harry Potter” series and Celtic Druidism, the impact Victorian notions of gender roles have had on the representation of the Gaunt family, the reception of (medieval and Early Modern) history in the series and the influence of Christian concepts on the world view expressed in the novels.

Part II focuses on a range of prominent political and social themes in the series, including conspiracy, persecution and terror, racism as well as the role of economic, social and cultural capital. Other articles explore the concept of a Magical Criminal Law and its consequences as well as the significance of secrets and forbidden places.

The articles in Part III go beyond the novels by taking the stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, the movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, Pottermore and fan fiction into account. Main topics in this part include trauma theory/PTSD, queerbaiting, a ‘post’-colonial analysis of the representation of Native Americans in Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” and the depiction of violence, incest and rape in fan fictions.

The concluding article highlights the diversification of the Potterverse and analyses strategies informing its ongoing expansion.